* Spain signals distress over rising borrowing costs
* G7 call signals alarm over euro zone inaction
* Euro, oil and shares turn lower
By Richard Hubbard
LONDON, June 5 European shares and the euro
eased on Tuesday as finance chiefs from the world's major
nations pushed Europe for faster action on its growing debt
crisis and Spain said the euro zone's fourth biggest economy was
being shut out of credit markets.
The single currency, which early in the day hit a one-week
high of $1.2543, fell 0.5 percent to $1.2440 when Spain's
Treasury Minister signalled his concern over high borrowing
costs just two days before a planned debt auction.
Commodities like oil followed the euro lower, but gold
gained on a view that the worsening economic outlook may prompt
further easing measures from the world's major central banks.
U.S. stock index futures indicated Wall Street may open higher
Spain's funding problems, and the threat they hold for the
rest of the world, will be discussed in a teleconference by
finance ministers and central bankers from the United States,
Canada, Japan, Britain, Germany, France and Italy (the G7),
which began at 1100 GMT on Tuesday.
"The G7 is going to put a lot of pressure on Europe to
accelerate the treatment of the banking crisis, which means to
increase the pressure on the Spanish Government," said Eric
Chaney, Chief Economist for the AXA Group.
"I think the Spanish Government, even though it will not
attend this meeting, will hear a lot coming from the G7, and the
message would be very simple: You need to borrow money from the
European (bailout) fund. Please do it," he said.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Europe needed to
find a solution to the Spanish banking crisis that did not add
to Madrid's already heavy budget deficit, reiterating Paris's
support for one proposal to help solve the current crisis - a
full European banking union.
The intensification of the euro zone crisis coupled with
weaker-than-expected data from the U.S. and China has been
putting downward pressure on the prices for most riskier assets.
The depths of the problems facing the euro zone were
highlighted in a batch of fresh business surveys, retail sales
data and numbers on German industrial production, which all
showed economic conditions across the region steadily worsening.
Retail sales in the 17-member currency bloc fell more than
expected in April as rising unemployment crimped consumer
spending, while German industrial orders for the same month
posted their steepest fall since November 2011.
A survey of thousands of companies across the region also
found the euro area's private economy shrank in May at the
fastest pace since 2009.
"Companies report business activity to have been hit by
heightened political and economic uncertainty, which has
exacerbated already weak demand both in the euro area and
further afield," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at
Markit, which compiled the survey data.
In European equity markets, where share indexes over the
past week have been beaten down to 2012 lows, price falls were
muted on Tuesday as UK markets remain closed for a holiday.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index
was down 0.1 percent at 2076 points by the mid session, and is
in sight of the eight-month low of 2,050.16 set last week.
"We are in a political environment where the debt crisis,
the Greek situation, is pushing down the market," said Oliver
Roth, head trader at Close Brothers Seydler.
But earlier the news that the G7 would hold talks on Europe
lifted MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside
Japan by 1.2 percent, snapping a four-day losing
streak, leaving the MSCI world equity index up
0.3 percent at 291.67 points.
In commodity markets the crisis in Europe and comments by
the International Energy Agency (IEA) that oil prices were still
a threat to the global economy, pushed Brent crude prices
below $98 a barrel, after they briefly hit a 16-month
low of $95.63 on Monday.
But the rising hopes that the gloomier economic outlook
could prompt the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Federal
Reserve to announce some stimulus measures soon lifted gold.
Australia's central bank cut interest rates for a second
month running, which fuelled the talk, though its
commodity-linked currency showed little lasting
reaction because the decision was largely expected.
The gold price posted its biggest one-day rise in more
than three years on Friday after weak U.S. jobs data fuelled the
speculation about a new wave of monetary easing, and it has
since held on to most of its gains despite a weaker euro.