Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Kim Jong-Il dies but European debt crisis lives on

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has died, to be replaced by his son Kim Jong-Un.

Stocks were mostly down on Monday, with South Korea's KOSPI falling 3.4 percent in reaction to the news on Kim Jong-Il's death.

Other markets were mostly weighed down by Europe's debt crisis as Belgium’s 10-year yield jumped nine basis points on Monday following its credit rating downgrade by Moody’s last week.

Adding to uncertainties of a resolution to the crisis, European finance ministers on Monday managed to raise only 150 billion euros for the IMF to fund the latter's efforts to help indebted countries, short of the 200 billion euro target. Prospects for meeting the target were dented by Britain's decision not to contribute.

Meanwhile, the US has continued to recover from its own crisis following the bursting of the housing bubble. A report on Monday showed that the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index rose for a third consecutive month to 21 in December from 19 in November.

The news on the UK housing market on Monday was not so positive. Rightmove reported that asking prices for homes in England and Wales fell 2.7 percent in December.

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