Asia Pacific stocks slide as Covid worries re-emerge

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SINGAPORE – Asia Pacific stocks fell in trading Friday morning as Covid worries re-emerged in the region.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 took losses among the region’s major markets as it lost 2.01% in morning trading while the Topix index lost 1.85%.

Olympic Games organizers will ban viewers from the upcoming Tokyo Summer Games after Japan declared a state of emergency for the city on Thursday as the country sees rising Covid-19 cases. The state of emergency lasts until August 22nd.

South Korea’s Kospi lost 1.66%. South Korea announced on Friday that the greater Seoul area will be placed under the strictest level 4 social distancing rules, according to local news agency Yonhap.

Australian stocks also fell as the S & P / ASX 200 lost 1.41%. The city of Sydney announced earlier this week that the Covid-19 restrictions would be extended for another week.

Mainland China stocks also fell in early trading, with the Shanghai Composite dropping 0.49% and the Shenzhen stake dropping 0.991%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index was below the flat line.

China’s consumer price index for June rose 1.1% year over year, data from the country’s national statistics bureau showed on Friday. That was below the expectations of analysts in a Reuters poll for a 1.3% increase over the previous year.

Meanwhile, Chinese producers’ inflation data was in line with expectations. The producer price index for June rose 8.8% year-on-year and met analysts’ forecasts in a Reuters poll for an increase of 8.8%. The June PPI was a slight decrease from its 9% increase in May.

MSCI’s broadest index for Asia Pacific stocks outside of Japan was down 0.87%.

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Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wall Street fell 259.86 points to 34,421.93 while the S&P 500 fell 0.86% to 4,320.82. The Nasdaq Composite lost 0.72% to 14,559.78.

The losses were due to the latest US Department of Labor claims data, which was unexpectedly higher, suggesting a possible slowdown in the labor market.

Currencies and oil

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback versus a basket of its competitors, hit 92.401 after falling over 92.7 recently.

The Japanese yen was trading at 109.78 per dollar, stronger against the dollar yesterday at 110.6. The Australian dollar changed hands at $ 0.7409, still below the over $ 0.755 level it hit earlier this week.

Oil prices were mixed on the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures falling 0.15% to $ 74.01 a barrel. US crude oil futures were unchanged at $ 72.94 a barrel.