Economic fears send share-markets tumbling in Asia and Europe; the long-term factors behind the credit crisis; North Korea accuses Japan of undermining nuke talks; India sends its first rocket to the moon; and more

Top of the Agenda: Stock Declines in Asia, Europe

Shares in Asian and European markets dropped today as fears over the state of the world economy continued to mount. Japan's Nikkei index fell nearly 7 percent (NYT), Hong Kong's main index fell over 5 percent, and European indices all moved down in early trading. Oil prices also dipped, falling below $70 a barrel, and the euro fell to a twenty-month low (Bloomberg) against the dollar.

The Washington Post says the fears driving the declines reflect concern about the overall world economy more than specific concerns about credit markets, which appear to be thawing. The Wall Street Journal reports traders are increasingly fearing a worldwide recession, with particularly pointed concerns in Europe.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Reserve made another major move aimed at propping up the U.S. financial system. The Fed agreed to finance up to $540 billion in short-term debt (FT) from money market mutual funds, which have been facing sharp pressures to redeem their assets.

Analysis:

  • A new Daily Analysis looks at some of the similarities between the U.S. credit crunch and Japan's financial crisis of the 1990s, which was similarly fed by a real-estate bust.
  • In a new interview with CFR.org, the Financial Times' Martin Wolf discusses some of the longer-term factors that skewed world financial markets and enabled the current crisis.

 

Pacific Rim: North Korea-Japan Accusations

North Korea requested that Japan be removed (BBC) from Six-Party Talks on denuclearization. Pyongyang says Tokyo is obstructing the process by refusing to grant North Korea economic and energy aid it promised as part of a settlement.

CHINA-U.S.: Xinhua reports Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President George W. Bush held a phone call to discuss how to coordinate their response to the financial crisis.

THAILAND-CAMBODIA: The Bangkok Post reports the leaders of Thailand and Cambodia may hold talks on the sidelines of the upcoming Asia-Europe Summit in Beijing to discuss recent tensions surrounding military buildup on the counties' shared border.

 

Elsewhere:

Robert Gates issues warning on Iraq forces agreement.
India launches first moon mission.

This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org.

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