The shocking death of North Korea’s leader has sent Asian stocks tumbling, deepening concerns regarding the financial market.
Kim Jong Il’s death was announced last night in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. Stability in the region has been compromised, and the reclusive regime will now undergo a major change in leadership.
South Korea’s Kospi index initially fell 4.1%, but later regained to trade 3.1% at 1,782.50. The won also slid 1.6% against the dollar. Aside from that common safe haven, the yen and the euro sank as well.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 1% at 8,314.44, while the Hand Seng plunged 2.5% to 17,833.42. Similarly, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 2.6%.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula have heightened, and South Korea has put both its police and military on high alert. President Lee Myung-Bak also convened national Security Council meetings. Japanese leaders are keeping an eye on markets, and are in touch with the U.S.
“We need to prepare for any contingencies,” said Jun Azumi, according to Kyodo News Agency.