September 12th, 2011
06:31 AM GMT
(CNN) – The global sell-off that began Friday continued as Asian markets opened Monday, despite weekend assurances that a Greek debt deal was imminent.
The euro was trading at its lowest level against the yen since 2001, as Bloomberg reported Germany was preparing for a possible default by Greece.
"We are watching Greece, and only Greece," said Satoshi Tate, a senior dealer at Mizuho Corporate Bank told the Wall Street Journal. "Conditions are getting very serious and everyone is worried how the issue will unfold."
Senior European officials scrambled to reassure financial markets with a Sunday announcement from Athens on a plan to skirt debt payment default with a property tax increase.
"We have made the decision to give a battle to avoid a disaster - a disastrous bankruptcy for the country and the citizen," Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said Saturday.
Investors were unconvinced. By noon Monday the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was down 3.3%, and industries sensitive to a slowing global economy are feeling the biggest hits: Shipping, oil and banks were all lower.
Japan’s Nikkei was down more than 2% and headed to its lowest level since April 2009, sunk down by sagging shares of powerhouse exporters like Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Panasonic and Sony.
The sell-off began Friday after Juergen Stark resigned from the European Central Bank board, signaling uncertainty about the management of the bloc’s monetary policy, the Financial Times reported.
-CNN's Ramy Inocencio contributed to this report
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