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Greek deal buoys Asian markets

Asian stock markets rose after Greece's parliament approved a new set of austerity measures that were required by international lenders in exchange for an emergency bailout.

Benchmark crude rose above 99 US dollars per barrel while the dollar fell against the euro and the yen.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.6% to 8,997.97. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.7% to 20,928.56. South Korea's Kospi added 0.5% to 2,004.42.

Drastic cuts in civil service jobs, minimum wages and pensions were among the measures approved by politicians in Greece in order to collect a second, urgently needed rescue loan for the country.

Without the 170 billion euro financial lifeline, Greece will default on a mountain of national debt next month and likely be pressed into a disruptive exit from the euro common currency.

Investors in Asia greeted the Greek vote with relief. But Greeks, who have been struggling to cope with a 20% unemployment rate and five years of recession, took to the streets to protest the measures. Riots and fires continued all weekend.

Attention now shifts to a meeting on Wednesday of European finance ministers, who will discuss additional bailout funds for Greece.

Analysts at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong said in an email that the parliament vote "did not come without major cost in the form of escalating protests and violence within Greece. "At least for today the market tone will be a positive one as attention shifts to a meeting of EU finance ministers on Wednesday."

Elsewhere, Chinese property shares plummeted after the city of Wuhu, in eastern China, announced it was suspending plans it announced last week to subsidise some home purchases and give tax breaks to help support the local market.

That news, suggesting an easing of curbs on the real estate market, pushed property and related shares higher late last week.


From Belfast Telegraph