Asian stock markets rise after EU, IMF agree on a deal to help Greece deal with its debt

BANGKOK – Asian stock markets rose Tuesday after talks over Greece’s financial crisis ended with an agreement on how to reduce its debt load, paving the way for the cash-strapped country to receive the next installment of a bailout loan.

Finance ministers of the 17 countries that use the euro and representatives of the International Monetary Fund reached an agreement late Monday that will enable Athens to receive €34.4 billion ($40.8 billion) immediately and three additional payments in early 2013.

Greece has endured five years of recession and a 25 per cent unemployment rate. It has been locked out of the international long-term debt market by exceptionally high interest rates demanded for its bonds since 2010, and has been relying on funds from rescue loans by other euro countries and the IMF.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.4 per cent to 9,424.91. South Korea’s Kospi rose 1 per cent to 1,927.59. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.3 per cent to 21,935.92. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.7 per cent to 4,454.40.

Wall Street stocks were mixed on the first full day of trading after the Thanksgiving holiday, with no resolution on the immediate horizon to the “fiscal cliff” of automatic tax increases and steep spending cuts that take effect in January unless President Barack Obama and Congress reach a budget agreement.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.3 per cent to close at 12,967.37. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.2 per cent to 1,406.29. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.3 per cent to 2,976.78.

Benchmark oil for January delivery was up 25 cents to $87.99 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 54 cents to close at $87.74 on the Nymex on Monday.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.2985 from $1.2963 late Monday in New York. The dollar fell to 81.97 yen from 82.18 yen.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.