HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian equity markets mostly rose Wednesday and the euro ticked up as hopes grew that Greece will be able to convince its European creditors to renegotiate the terms of its bailout.
Dealers were cheered by gains in New York and Europe ahead of a key meeting of eurozone finance minister where Greek officials will present their first concrete proposals for a new four-year reform deal.
The euro edged up in Asia ahead of the talks, fetching $1.1317 and 135.40 yen, against $1.1315 and 135.15 yen in New York.
In share markets, Seoul rose 0.51 per cent, or 9.84 points, to 1,945.70, and Shanghai added 0.51 per cent, or 16.11 points, to end at 3,157.70, while in late trade Singapore was 0.25 per cent higher and Mumbai clocked up 0.52 per cent.
However, Sydney skidded 0.54 per cent, or 31.5 points, to 5,769.1 and Hong Kong closed 0.87 per cent, or 213.08 points, down at 24,315.02.
Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.
Greece’s combative leaders sparked fears that Athens could default on its debt repayments and exit the eurozone when they vowed not to bow to German-led pressure to complete an austerity-laden agreement ahead of Wednesday’s talks.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis are seeking stop-gap financing with a view to clinching a reform deal from September 1 as part of efforts to rewrite the terms of Greece’s 240 billion euro ($270 billion) bailout.
They are expected to offer a series of measures in return, including lower budget surplus targets and cutting debt through a swap plan to replace its current EU-IMF bailout obligations.
Tsipras said Tuesday he would not request the final tranche of cash due under the terms of its current bailout, despite pressure from German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.
“I want to repeat today, no matter how much Schaeuble asks it, we are not going to ask to extend the bailout,” Tsipras said.
However, Schaeuble said earlier in the day that “it’s over” if Greece does not want the final slice of aid, according to Bloomberg News.
While the European leaders seem to be at loggerheads, analysts said investors were still confident a deal will be reached.
“The markets don’t see a Greek exit as highly likely and certainly don’t think there’s a really negative outcome looming,” Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners Ltd, told Bloomberg News.
“There are still a lot of risks out there but then again the world is growing very slowly, interest rates are at zero and central banks remain stimulatory, so equities can still grind higher, just with more volatility.”
New York shares rallied on hopes for a positive outcome, helped by a surge in Apple to a record high as well and upbeat earnings results. The Dow climbed 0.79 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 1.07 per cent and the Nasdaq jumped 1.30 per cent.
The dollar was also higher, buying 119.70 yen, compared with 119.44 yen.
Frankfurt and Paris surged more than one per cent, while London edged up. Athens soared nearly eight per cent.
Oil prices rebounded after suffering a sell-off Tuesday. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March delivery rose 55 cents to $50.57 a barrel while Brent crude for March rose 37 cents to $56.80 in afternoon trade.
Gold fetched $1,238.10 an ounce, against $1,237.42 on Tuesday.