Thai, Asian markets resume losses as stimulus joy fades

31-Mar-2020 Intellasia | BangkokPost | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Thai and other Asian markets fell Monday, with the benchmark Stock Exchange of Thailand index down 1.67 percent at 11.55am, following a steep drop on Wall Street as the jubilation from last week’s enormous US stimulus package faded and investors returned their attention to the soaring infection and death rate of the coronavirus.

Donald Trump finally signed off the more than $2 trillion pump-priming measures on Friday, but equitieswhich enjoyed a much-needed rally for much of the weekended on a negative note as dealers took profits.

While the disease ravages populations and the global economy grinds to a halt with 40 percent of the planet in lockdown, experts are struggling to get a grip on the scale of the crisis that is forecast to cause a worldwide recession.

And analysts say there are likely more dark days ahead, with Trump abandoning his timetable for life returning to normal in the United States and extending emergency restrictions for another month.

The president said he expected the country to “be well on our way to recovery” by June 1dropping his previous target of mid-April.

Meanwhile, senior US scientist Anthony Fauci issued a tentative prediction that Covid-19 could claim up to 200,000 lives in the US.

AxiCorp’s Stephen Innes said that while governments and central banks have acted to shore up the global economy, pledging around $5 trillion in stimulus support, markets looked like they were “nearing policy fatigue where it becomes less effective, and as the surprise element diminishes, no one cares”.

“So, while policy responses in the US and Europe have been spectacular… the coronavirus keeps spreading globally, deepening fears of the economic and financial impact across countries. More market turmoil likely lies ahead.”

He also pointed out that with the corporate reporting season approaching “now we are about to enter a vortex of bad earnings, bad economic data, and bankruptcies”.

‘The big unknown’

The downbeat mood weighed on Asian equities. Tokyo went into the break more than 3 percent down, while Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taipei were more than 1 percent lower in the morning.

Seoul shed 2 percent and Manila 2.5%, while Jakarta was more than 4 percent down. Wellington eased 0.6 percent but Sydney, which plunged more than 5 percent on Friday, was more than 2 percent higher. Singapore slid more than 4 percent as investors brushed off the city-state’s monetary policy easing measures that came days after data showed it was heading for a deep recession.

“The big question for markets is whether the huge stimulus introduced so far across the globe will be enough to help the global economy withstand the economic shock from the COVID-19 containment measures,” said National Australia Bank’s Rodrigo Catril.

“To answer this question one needs to know the magnitude of the containment measures and for how long they will be implemented. This is the big unknown and it suggests markets are likely to remain volatile until this uncertainty is resolved.”

The return to a risk-averse environment on trading floors also sent the dollar back up against higher-yielding currencies with the Mexican peso, Indonesian rupiah and South Korean won losing more than 1 percent apiece.

The oil market remains in turmoil, with the Saudi-Russian price war adding to the impact of battered demand caused by the virus. And there are warnings the commodity, already at near two-decade lows, could sink even further as production remains heightened and storage tanks around the world approach full capacity.

“When the storage capacity is filled, we should probably expect a response from Saudi Arabia, Russia, and other essential oil producers,” Innes added, though he warned “the longer their response takes, the higher the risk of another steep decline in oil prices”.

Key figures around 9.30am

TokyoNikkei 225: DOWN 3.2 percent at 18,762.70 (break)

Hong KongHang Seng: DOWN 1.3 percent at 23,169.22

ShanghaiComposite: DOWN 1.2 percent at 2,738.32

euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1088 from $1.1148 at 2100 GMT

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 107.31 yen from 107.88 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2393 from $1.2450

euro/pound: DOWN at 89.45 pence from 89.46 pence

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 6.3 percent at $23.37 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 5.1 percent at $20.41 per barrel

New YorkDow: DOWN 4.1 percent at 21,636.78 (close)

LondonFTSE 100: DOWN 5.3 percent at 5,510.33 (close)

https://www.bangkokpost.com/world/1889380/thai-asian-markets-resume-losses-as-stimulus-joy-fades

 


Category: Thailand

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