Asian markets fear global recession

A man looks at a stock board in Tokyo, Japan.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Renita Jablonski: The fallout can once again be seen in markets around the world. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Japan's Nikkei did pare some losses in part thanks to a report by the Wall Street Journal. The Journal reports the Bush Administration is thinking about a $40 billion plan to help prevent foreclosures. Still, every Asian market closed in the red today.

This would be a good time to bring in Marketplace's Scott Tong. He's standing by in Shanghai. Hi Scott, what is behind this?

Scott Tong: Global recession. That's the fear that the markets are worrying about. A couple weeks ago, we thought about the industrialized countries, and we knew they were going in the wrong direction. But we thought maybe we still have these emerging markets that the world can kind of rely on. It doesn't seem like we have those anymore. South Korea on this side of the world, which used to be the poster child of economic reform and growth, it's seeing its currency tanking. We know Pakistan has gone to the IMF for help, and Hungary is going through this currency crisis. So it doesn't seem like there's anywhere to hide in the world anymore, and the markets are reacting to that fear -- even though some of the fundamentals of these economies don't necessarily look that bad.

Jablonski: Well that's the thing Scott -- the emerging markets especially were not as exposed to the toxic assets. Why are things moving so quickly, then?

Tong: What has moved really quickly is the world of currency. It's turned upside-down in a hurry. Before this crisis, the dollar and the yen were weak against most of the currencies in the world. Well, that has just flipped, because investors have pulled out of these emerging economies. So that's hurt those countries, and it's hurt all the investors who bet on some of those countries. And so they're flocking to the safety of the dollar and yen.

Jablonski: All right, Marketplace's Scott Tong in Shanghai. Thanks so much, Scott.

Tong: You're welcome.

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