TOKYO—Asian shares and the euro fell on Thursday on concerns about global growth driven by higher oil prices and data showing the euro zone may slip into recession, fanning fresh worries about Greece’s debt restructuring challenges.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan slid 0.6 percent, having consolidated from recent rallies after the much-awaited deal for a 130 billion euro Greek bailout was sealed earlier in the week. Sectors sensitive to growth cycles, including technology and materials, underperformed.
Japan’s Nikkei average fell 0.1 percent, after scaling its highest since early August on Wednesday.
“Now that the Greece’s second rescue package has been decided and priced into the market, markets are already looking for the next problem,” said Yoshihiko Tabei, general manager of capital markets at Kazaka Securities.
“And that next problem is Europe’s fiscal reform and how those austerity measures will be achieved across the bloc.” Data from Japan showed manufacturing sentiment in February slid to its lowest since the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake, indicating the world’s No.3 economy may struggle to recover quickly from a slump on weak global demand and a strong yen, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday.
This followed Wednesday’s weak euro zone service sector activity, which weighed on U.S. and European shares. German IFO business climate for February due later this session, seen improving slightly, will offer more clues on Europe’s economy. Markit’s Eurozone Services Purchasing Managers’ Index shrank unexpectedly, reviving fears of the economy sinking into recession and raising doubts over the Greece’s ability to revive its economy and push fiscal reforms needed under the just-agreed bailout programme.
Fitch became the first ratings agency to make a widely expected downgrade of Greece after a bond swap agreement, putting Greek bank shares under heavy selling pressure on worries over their recapitalisation.