Fundamental Comment

Asian stocks fall to 7-week low, yuan slides

Asian stocks fall to 7 week low and yuan slides

Asian stocks fell to a seven-week low on Thursday, with fears related to the Corona virus and concerns about the acceleration of the spread of the infection along with its impact on the world’s second biggest economy.

Hang Seng Index decreased by 2.65 percent to 26,441.72, while the Shanghai Composite Index was closed today due to the lunar New Year holiday.

Australia S&P/ASX 200 finished 0.33 percent down at 7,008.43 and South Korea’s Kospi index descended by 1.71 percent to 2,148.

In Japan, Nikkei 225 index slumped 1.72 percent to 22,977.75 points.

This decline in Asian shares was due to the lingering fears surrounding the deadly epidemic Coronavirus, which, so far, has killed 170 people and infected more than 7,711 in China.

The virus spread throughout China and then spread to at least 16 countries worldwide, including Thailand, France, the United States and Australia.

To date, there is no specific treatment or vaccine against the disease. However, a number of people have recovered after treatment.

WHO's Emergency Director Michael Ryan said the death rate from MERS-CoV was around 2 percent, while the Sars death rate was about 10 percent.

WHO is scheduled to meet today to discuss whether the virus is a global health emergency.

In the same vein, the offshore Chinese yuan fell 0.46 to hit a one-month low at 7.0038 per dollar, while it is currently hovering around 6.9980 per dollar.

Meanwhile, the dollar index, which measures the performance of six major currencies against the US dollar, rose by 0.09 percent at 97.90 after touching a peak of 98.00 yesterday after the Fed’s decision to hold interest rates.

Later in the day, the U.S. advanced GDP may remain unrevised at 2.1 percent growth in the fourth quarter on annual basis.

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