Asia Pacific markets little changed as IMF flags risk of severe global recession



By Eustance Huang


KEY POINTS


  • Stocks in Asia Pacific were little changed on Wednesday.

  • The International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday that the global economy is set to see its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

  • Markets in South Korea were closed on Wednesday as the country heads to the polls for legislative elections.


Stocks in Asia were little changed on Wednesday as the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic continued to weigh on investor sentiment.

Mainland Chinese stocks dipped on the day, with the Shanghai composite 0.57% lower to about 2,811.17 while the Shenzhen composite shed 0.532% to around 1,736.13. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed 0.8%, as of its final hour of trading.


In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.45% lower at 19,550.09 shares of Fanuc slipped 2.54% while FamilyMart dropped 5.18%. The Topix index ended slightly higher at 1,434.07.

Shares in Australia finished their trading day in negative territory, as the S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.39% to 5,466.70.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index dipped 0.12%.

Markets in South Korea were closed on Wednesday as the country heads to the polls for parliamentary elections.

Developments around the coronavirus pandemic likely continued to be in focus for investors, with the International Monetary Fund warning on Tuesday that the global economy is set to see its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The Washington-based organization now expects the global economy to contract by 3% in 2020. By contrast, in January it had forecast a global GDP (gross domestic product) expansion of 3.3% for this year. “I think the equity markets currently are in a bottom building phase,” Fan Cheuk Wan, chief market strategist for Asia at HSBC Private Banking, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Wednesday. “Equity investor(s) are now focusing on the recovery outlook,” Fan said. “However, there’s still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the trajectory of the global recovery into 2021.”

Oil prices shed gains

Oil prices fell into negative territory in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 1.79% to $29.07 per barrel while U.S. crude futures were 0.2% lower at $20.07 per barrel. The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 99.050 after seeing an earlier low of 98.817. The Japanese yen traded at 107.04 per dollar after seeing levels above 107.2 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6354 after rising from levels below $0.64 yesterday.

CNBC

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