(MENAFN - AFP) European stock markets fell on Monday, as a thin calendar of macro-economic events once again steered investors' eyes to when the Fed might begin tapering US stimulus, dealers said.
Trading in London was closed for a bank holiday on Monday.
Last week, emerging market currencies and sovereign debt came under renewed pressure as traders bet on an end to the Fed's 85 billion (63.5 billion euro) a month monetary easing.
The Indian rupee, Indonesian Rupiah, Turkish lira and South African rand all fell last week, and Brazil announced new action to support the real.
In mid-morning deals, Frankfurt's DAX 30 had lost 0.23 percent to 8.397.85 points, while the Paris CAC 40 was down 0.60 percent to 4,045.21 points.
Most other European markets followed suit, with Madrid trading 0.82 percent lower at 8,615.00 points and Milan falling 1.88 percent to 17,016.04 points.
Attention was also directed towards a renewed debate on whether Greece will require another bailout to get its finances in order.
In foreign exchange activity, the euro weakened to 1.3368 from 1.3381 late on Friday, while the dollar dropped to 98.49 yen from 98.71 yen before the weekend.
Sterling strengthened against the euro, with one pound buying 1.1652 euros from 1.1631 euros on Friday, but fell back against the dollar, to 1.5576 from 1.5584.
The Russian ruble was broadly steady -- but was still low -- against the US currency after last week's tumble, with one dollar costing 32.9909 rubles from 32.9918 rubles on Friday, while the Turkish lira fell, with one dollar costing 1.9984 lira from 1.9914 lira.
The turbulence affecting emerging currencies prompted South Africa's Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to call for greater international action to get to grips with the crisis.
"There's no doubt that the multilateral institutions... need to desperately try to come up with new answers and do some heterodox thinking to find a new framework which will enable us to embrace the current environment, create less volatility," he said in an interview with the Financial Times.
Mark Williams, chief Asia economist at Capital Economics, said however that the strains "pose a much smaller risk to emerging markets now than in the past", pointing to lower foreign currency debt burdens, but warned that "cross border capital flows to many parts of the emerging world are larger now than in the 1990s".
He said: "It is important to stress that we continue to believe that the current bout of currency volatility will prove short-lived and that a prolonged reversal of capital flows is unlikely."
Meanwhile, US economist Nouriel Roubini warned that instability in Italy over Silvio Berlusconi's future could trigger early elections next year and weigh the country's standing on financial markets from this week.
Prime Minister Enrico Letta's government needs to decide by Saturday how to reform a hugely unpopular property tax that Berlusconi's People of Freedom party wants scrapped altogether. Berlusconi supporters have said they could bring down the government if they do not get their way.
"Our most probable scenario is elections in early 2014 but we do not exclude even sooner than that. The markets are reasoning in a similar way," Roubini said in an interview with La Repubblica daily.
The difference, or spread, between the rates on Italian and German 10-year bonds widened to 244 basis points (2.44 percentage points) -- a sign of increased concern.
Asian markets mostly closed modestly higher on Monday, echoing modest gains on Wall Street and in Europe at the end of last week after a slump in US housing market sales reduced fears of an early tapering.
Sydney closed up 0.23 percent and Seoul gained 0.95 percent, while Tokyo stocks ended the session 0.18 percent lower which dealers blamed on profit-taking.
In company news, pharmaceutical giant Sanofi added 1.19 percent to 75.83 euros on the Paris stock exchange after its vaccine unit announced positive results in a study of its latest influenza vaccine Fluzone.