Asian shares fall, led by China; euro steady


20/03/2012 07:51 AST  Guardian.co.uk

Asian shares slipped on Tuesday, dragged down by losses in Hong Kong and Shanghai, while the euro held near its highest level in a week after an orderly auction of Greek default insurance eased fears about the threat to the single currency posed by Greece.

Commodities were broadly weaker, with base and precious metals both edging down, while crude oil eased around half a percent on an improved supply outlook as Libyan exports are returning to pre-war levels faster than expected.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.5 percent, led by a fall of 0.8 percent in Shanghai stocks and a 0.7 percent decline for Hong Kong's Hang Seng index. Tokyo markets were closed for a holiday.

"Momentum is clearly stalling right now and in need of distinct signals, whether it be U.S. housing data pointing to a stable recovery or stronger indications of policy easing in China," said Kim Se-joong, an analyst at Shinyoung Securities in Seoul.

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