Coronavirus News Asia

Asia cautiously optimistic as economies reopen

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HONG KONG: Asian markets are broadly higher but investors are monitoring the ‘blame game’ between Washington and Beijing over the coronavirus pandemic even as economists forecast a bottoming out of the global economy.

In a reflection of the tensions between the world’s two biggest economies, mainland China stocks are down, with the CSI300 off by 0.54% as trading resumed after the holiday break.

The Hang Seng index is up 0.78% and Korea’s Kospi index has climbed 0.7% helped by Hong Kong’s pledge to relax the virus restrictions starting Friday and South Korea’s easing of social distancing rules beginning Wednesday.

And while US President Donald Trump pushed the country to reopen, caution abounded.

“Investor sentiment will remain fragile with investors weighing plans to accelerate the pace of the US reopening with concerns about a possible second wave of the virus in the fall. US President Trump urged US governors to reopen the economy with reports that the White House would soon wind down the Covid-19 task force,” ING Bank said in a note.

Credit markets remain on firm ground as central banks across the world are seen keeping rates at record lows, triggering a hunt for yield income among investors. Sovereign CDS moved in by 3-5 bps for the high yielders and Sun Hung Kai and Sinopec have announced bond offerings expected to price later today. Sinopec has already logged orders in excess of $7.5 billion and Sun Hung Kai demand has exceeded $1 billion.

Regionally, the MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan index rose 0.45% with oil prices flat to marginally weaker.

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.56%, the S&P 500 advanced 0.90%, and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.13%.

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