Stocks in Asia-Pacific edge higher as investors watch for coronavirus developments

  • Investors will monitor shares of airlines in Hong Kong and Singapore after an anticipated air travel bubble between the two cities was delayed due to rising Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong.
  • Markets in Japan are closed on Monday for a holiday.
  • Developments surrounding the coronavirus will likely continue to weigh on investor sentiment.

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific rose during Monday morning trade as investors continue to watch for coronavirus developments.

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The S&P/ASX 200 rose more than 0.6% as shares of major miners BHP Group and Fortescue jumped 3.4% and 4.72%, respectively.

South Korea’s Kospi added 0.9%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.18% higher.

Investors will monitor shares of airlines in Hong Kong and Singapore, including Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines, after an anticipated air travel bubble between the two cities was delayed. That came as Hong Kong has seen a recent increase in coronavirus cases.

On the economic data front, Singapore’s economy contracted 5.8% in the third quarter, according to a Monday press release by the country’s Ministry of Trade and Industry. The economy is now expected to contract by between 6% and 6.5% in 2020 compared to a year ago, and bounce back to growth in 2021, said the ministry.

Markets in Japan are closed on Monday for a holiday.

Developments surrounding the coronavirus will likely continue to weigh on investor sentiment. South Korea is set to impose stricter distancing regulations for the greater Seoul area and southwestern region in an attempt to stem a resurgence of the coronavirus, according to Yonhap. Meanwhile, the U.S. recently reported nearly 200,000 new virus cases less than a week before Thanksgiving.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.33 following a recent decline from levels above 92.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 103.83 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 104.4 against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7311 after turbulent trading last week that saw the currency above $0.732 and below $0.729.

Oil prices edged higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, as international benchmark Brent crude futures rose 0.42% to $45.15 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also advanced fractionally to $42.45 per barrel.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • Singapore: Consumer Price Index for October at 1:00 p.m. HK/SIN
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