Asian Markets Begin Trading Week on High Note

Asian markets are trading higher Monday as hopes rise that the coronavirus pandemic appears to be easing. 

Japan’s main Nikkei index was trading more than 2.5% higher in late day trading, while Australia’s S&P/ASX was trading up well over 3.7%. The KOSPI in Seoul was up 2.6% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng had gained well over one percent.  Shanghai’s index was closed for a public holiday. 

Investors appeared to be encouraged by a slowdown in the number of COVID-19 fatalities in New York City, Spain and Italy, evidence that the orders for residents to stay at home and avoid spreading the disease were taking hold.  The good news is sure to provide relief from last Friday’s massive losses on Wall Street after the U.S. said employers cut over 700,000 jobs last month, the worst report in more than a decade. 

But oil markets were trading lower on Monday as Saudi Arabia and Russia continue to be locked in a contentious price war, aggravated by falling demand due to the pandemic. U.S. crude was down 7% at just over $26 per barrel, while Brent crude, the global benchmark, had lost 6%, to list at $32 per barrel. 

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