Greece Closes Banks, Stock Markets Plunge Wordwide [VIDEO]

Share prices began to plummet across Asia on Monday as hopes dwindled for a resolution to the Greek debt crisis.

Japan’s Nikkei stock average briefly fell by more than 500 points in early trading, while the euro dropped more than 3% to 133.80 yen, its lowest level for five weeks. The common currency fell as much as 1.9% to $1.0955, its lowest level in almost a month.

The Nikkei fell 2.1%, while MSCI’s broader index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.8%. US stock futures dived 1.8%, hitting a three-month low, while US Treasuries futures price gained almost two points.

More than $35bn was wiped off the Australian stock market in the first hour of trading on Monday as investors brace for an increasingly likely Greek exit from the eurozone.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced in a televised address on Sunday night that Greece’s banks and stock market will be closed on Monday, while banks will remain closed for six days. There will also be restrictions placed on money transfers and cash withdrawals will be limited to $66 a day during this period, according to a government decree published late Sunday. The decision comes just hours after the European Central Bank said it will not expand the emergency loan program for Greek banks. Tsipras called the central bank’s move “blackmail.” Meanwhile, London, Paris and Frankfurt stock markets fell sharply in early trading on Monday.