Asian markets are getting their first chance to react to Friday's downgrade of several key European countries' credit ratings with consternation and concern. Japan, in particular, is not pleased. Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi is warning that he is "worried" about the prospect that the euro will accelerate its decline now that France and other members of the euro zone have lost their AAA rating from Standard & Poor's. This, in turn, could depress orders for Japanese products as European economies slow under their burden of debt -- while a stronger yen further depresses the ability of Japan's exporters to compete on a global basis. The yen ( FXY , quote ) is up on all major currencies tonight -- especially the euro ( FXE , quote ) -- but Tokyo stocks ( EWJ , quote ) are down 1.50%. Remember, U.S. traders will be unable to trade these markets via their associated ETFs on Monday so these funds will gap up or down at the open on Tuesday. Most alarmingly, Azumi warns that contagion from the euro zone could pose a serious threat to financial institutions in Japan and elsewhere if losses in the bond market create a ripple effect. Worries about slowing global growth is also cutting into key commodity prices. Europe is collectively one of the largest consumers of raw copper in the world, so the news is encouraging traders to take some profits on copper holdings like JJC ( quote ).
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