MUMBAI, India (AP) — Asian markets opened weak Monday after heated political rhetoric from the U.S. raised worries that the partial shutdown of the American government could bring the world’s largest economy close to defaulting on its debt.
Japan’s Nikkei index, the regional heavyweight, slumped by 1.2 percent to 13,861.05. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dipped 0.7 percent to 22,968.36. Losses weren’t as steep on South Korea’s Kospi, which fell 0.1 percent to 1,995.10.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 1 percent to 5,154.60, but trading volumes were light due public holidays in some parts of the country. Benchmarks in Indonesia, India and Taiwan also fell.
Investor anxiety has risen as the U.S. budget impasse between Republicans and the White House drags on.
On Sunday, Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner ruled out a vote on a straightforward bill to raise the government’s borrowing authority without concessions from President Barack Obama before an Oct. 17 deadline, moving closer to the possibility of default.
Wall Street stocks posted modest gains Friday, driven by optimism that Washington’s bickering politicians would resolve their budget fight. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.5 percent, to close at 15,072.58. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 0.7 percent, to 1,690.50. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.9 percent, to 3,807.75.
Benchmark oil for November delivery fell 53 cents to $103.31 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 53 cents to close at $103.84 on the Nymex on Friday
In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3563 from $1.3559 late Friday. The dollar fell to 97.13 yen from 97.31 yen.