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The Financial Express

Asian shares tumble amid global uncertainties

| Updated: September 24, 2020 10:53:45


Men wearing face masks are seen inside the Shanghai Stock Exchange building, as the country is hit by a novel coronavirus outbreak, at the Pudong financial district in Shanghai, China, February 28, 2020 — Reuters Men wearing face masks are seen inside the Shanghai Stock Exchange building, as the country is hit by a novel coronavirus outbreak, at the Pudong financial district in Shanghai, China, February 28, 2020 — Reuters

Asian shares fell on Thursday following a slump on Wall Street overnight, as a series of warnings from US Federal Reserve officials underscored investor worries over the resilience of the economic recovery.

US Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida said on Wednesday that the US economy remains in a “deep hole” of joblessness and weak demand, and called for more fiscal stimulus, noting that policymakers “are not even going to begin thinking” about raising interest rates until inflation hits 2.0 per cent.

Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester echoed Clarida, saying that the US remains in a “deep hole, regardless of the comeback we’ve seen.”

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS tumbled 1.35 per cent in the morning session on broad losses across the region.

Chinese blue-chips .CSI300 dropped 1.09 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng .HSI fell 1.72 per cent, Seoul's KOSPI .KS11 sank 1.73 per cent and Australian shares .AXJO were 1.18 per cent lower.

Japan's Nikkei .N225 fell 0.74 per cent.

“Have we overpriced the rebound in the economy? After the stern warning from Clarida, I say we have,” said Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at AXI.

“I think the market was interpreting a bounce from the bottom as a cyclical recovery, but I don’t think we’re there yet. I still think there’s a lot of blood on the street, especially on Main Street.”

US stocks fell on Wednesday after data showed business activity slowed in September, with gains at factories more than offset by a retreat at services industries.

Investors now await weekly data due later on Thursday, which is expected to show US jobless claims fell slightly but remained elevated, indicating the world’s largest economy is far from recovering.

While Clarida and other Fed officials have called for more fiscal assistance in boosting the economy, analysts say immediate support is unlikely with the US Congress locked in a stalemate.

Additionally, a second wave of coronavirus infections in Europe threatened the economic recovery in that region pushing equities lower and propping up the safe-haven dollar.

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 1.92 per cent, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 2.37 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 3.02 per cent.

In the currency market, the dollar eased from two-month highs touched on Wednesday. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of peers =USD, was a touch lower at 94.348, but edged up against the yen JPY= to 105.41.

The euro EUR= ticked up to buy $1.1664.

“A stronger USD remains a significant headwind for commodity markets, with investor appetite waning,” ANZ analysts said in a note.

Spot gold XAU=, which hit a two-month low early in the Asian day on the stronger greenback, was flat at $1,863.61 per ounce by mid-morning in Asia.

Oil prices fell amid uncertainty about demand due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.

Brent crude LCOc1 dropped 0.89% to $41.40 a barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 was 1.15 per cent lower at $39.48 a barrel.

US Treasury yields were little changed, with the 10-year US10YT=RR yielding 0.6757 per cent from 0.676 per cent on Wednesday, and the 30-year yield US30YT=RR at 1.4168 per cent from 1.425 per cent.

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