Asian stocks suffered losses on Monday morning as tensions escalate between the United States and China, prompting investor fears of a further obstacle to the global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The US Dollar inched higher, stock markets struggled for traction and oil fell on Monday as a US-China spat over the origin of the coronavirus put the brakes on optimism about an economic re-start as countries around the world ease restrictions.
In reduced trade, with China and Japan on holiday, US stock futures fell 1.7% and US crude tumbled 7%. The safe-haven US Dollar rallied to one-week highs against the risk sensitive Australian and New Zealand Dollars. South Korea's KOSPI fell, Hong Kong's Hang Seng returned from a two-session holiday with a 3.5% drop while Australia's ASX 200 eked out a 0.5% gain.
The moves extended a dour start in May, which began on Friday with bleak US data and the threat of fresh trade-war hostilities between the world's two biggest economies.
US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added to worries with fresh efforts to pin blame for the pandemic on China, where the new coronavirus outbreak is believed to have originated.
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said overnight that there was “enormous evidence” showing that the COVID-19 outbreak began in a Wuhan laboratory, but he did not elaborate on what the evidence was.
Pompeo’s comment came after US President Donald Trump demanded answers from China about the virus’s origin even hinting at possible retaliation last Thursday. Trump added overnight that he believed that a Chinese “mistake” was the cause of the COVID-19 outbreak, though he also did not present any evidence for the claim.
The US-China tensions dampened investors’ moods even as some countries loosened their lockdowns, raising hopes for a start to the global economic recovery.
Building Permits in Australia are expected to be -8% by the end of this quarter. Australia Dwelling Approvals is projected to trend around 2.5% in 2021 and 3% in 2022 while by the end of this quarter, the New Zealand Stock Market (NZX 50) is expected to trade at 10291.23 points.
By the end of this quarter, the Philippines Stock Market (PSEi) is expected to trade at 5561.61 points while the Singapore Stock Market (STI) is expected to trade at 2582.50 points, the Malaysia Stock Market (FBM KLCI) is expected to trade at 1389.20 points. The IHS Markit Vietnam Manufacturing PMI plummeted to 32.7 in April 2020, the lowest on record, from 41.9 in the prior month amid strong negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Manufacturing PMI in South Korea is expected to be 45.70 points. The South Korea Manufacturing PMI is projected to trend around 49.70 points in 2021 and 49.10 points in 2022.
Manufacturing PMI in Myanmar is expected to be 47.00 By the end of this quarter. Hong Kong stock investors are likely to start May with losses, amid signs that the bullish sentiment that had added $14 trillion to global equity values is now faltering. Manufacturing PMI in Taiwan is expected to be 42.00 points by the end of this quarter. In the long-term, the Taiwan Manufacturing PMI is projected to trend around 49.80 points in 2021 and 50.10 points in 2022.
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