By Gina Lee
Investing.com – Asian stocks were mostly down on Monday morning, with markets taking a tumble after the number of COVID-19 cases spiked in several countries during the weekend and increased fears of a second wave of cases.
China reported a new outbreak in Beijing’s Xinfadi market in the weekend and has since closed the market as well as 11 surrounding districts. It reported 57 new cases on June 13, its highest number since mid-April.
Meanwhile, Tokyo reported 47 cases, its highest number in around a month, with 27 cases traced back to nightclubs and bars. The establishments had recently re-opened after the state of emergency over the city was lifted last month.
The number of global cases is fast approaching 8 million as of June 15, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The gains came even after Chinese industrial and retail sales data for May missed investor forecasts prepared by Investing.com, with industrial production increasing 4.4% year-on-year and retail sales declining 2.8% year-on-year and disappointed expectations of recovery signs in the country.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 0.53%.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 slumped 0.81%, ahead of a Bank of Japan policy decision scheduled to be announced on Tuesday.
“News over the weekend have done little to ease concerns over the risk of a new round containment measures…as economies reopen, an increase in infection rates is to be expected, the question is whether detecting measures will be efficient enough to allow for localized containment measures without having to shut the whole economy again,” Rodrigo Catril, National Australia Bank (OTC:NABZY) senior foreign exchange strategist, said in a note.
Meanwhile, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will deliver his semi-annual policy report to the U.S. Congress later in the week, where “he may try to spin a more upbeat/hopeful outlook…but whether markets listen remains to be seen,” Betashares’ chief economist David Bassanese told Reuters.
In his report, Powell is largely expected to uphold the previous week’s grim view handed down by the Fed in the aftermath of its policy meeting.
Asian Stocks Fall Over Increased Fears of COVID-19 Second Wave
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