Asian stocks fall on worries over Europe debt woes

Asian stocks fall on worries over Europe debt woes

Tokyo: Asian stock markets tumbled in early trading on Monday as fresh worries over debt woes in Europe dampened sentiment across the region.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average dropped 207.50 points, or 2%, to 10,255.01.

South Korea’s Kospi lost 2.1% to 1,660.85. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index was also down 2% at 4,549.60.

Benchmarks in mainland China and Taiwan declined, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index losing 1.6% to 19,832.03.

Asian investors’ mood turned downbeat on growing concerns that cost-cutting fiscal measures being taken by Greece, Portugal and Spain could hamper a recovery in the eurozone economy.

On Wall Street on Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 162.79 points, or 1.5%, to 10,620.16 on fears that such austere measures in Europe would slow economic activity on the continent and elsewhere.

In an interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel to be published Monday, the European Central Bank president said Europe’s economy “is in its most difficult situation since World War II or perhaps even since World War I."

Jean-Claude Trichet said the eurozone’s debt crisis has provoked a market reaction similar to that at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008.

In currencies, the dollar edged down to 92.15 yen in Tokyo from 92.45 yen in New York late Friday. The euro stood at $1.2358 from $1.2360.