TOKYO, RAW – Asian shares and US stock futures have fallen as concern about a resurgence of coronavirus cases in some countries cast doubt on the strength of global growth and demand for crude oil.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.6 per cent on Wednesday. Australian stocks dropped 1.25 per cent and shares in China were down 0.46 per cent.
Stocks in Tokyo slumped by 1.79 per cent due the growing likelihood that Tokyo, Osaka and surrounding areas will be put on lockdown due to a new wave of coronavirus infections.
S&P 500 e-mini stock futures also fell 0.18 per cent.
Crude futures extended declines from a one-month high in Asian trading on speculation that coronavirus restrictions in India, the world’s third-largest oil importer, will hurt energy demand.
Recent optimism about rising vaccination rates in the United States, Britain, and Europe is shifting to concern that record coronavirus infections in India and the reinforcement of travel restrictions will slow the global economy.
“Renewed concerns about the global economic recovery weighed on commodity prices and commodity currencies. Many countries around the world, such as India and Brazil, set new records for infections and deaths,” analysts at Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in a research note.
Declines in Asian shares followed a downbeat day on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.75 per cent, the S&P 500 lost 0.68 per cent, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.92 per cent on Tuesday as investors sold airlines and travel-related shares due to fear of a delayed recovery in global tourism.
Some tech shares and companies that benefited from stay-at-home demand could face further pressure after Netflix reported disappointing subscriber growth for its streaming service, which sent its shares down 11 per cent in after-hours trading.
US crude dipped 0.4 per cent to $US62.42 a barrel, while Brent crude fell 0.26 per cent to $US66.40 per barrel.
India, a major energy consumer, reported its worst daily death toll on Tuesday, with large parts of the country now under lockdown.
The Canadian dollar, the Mexican peso, and the Norwegian crown steadied during Asian trading after falling on Tuesday, but analysts say more declines the currencies of major oil exporters are likely if energy prices continue to fall.
The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies traded near a seven-week low, hurt by a dip in US Treasury yields as some investors sought the safety of holding government debt.
Investors are closely watching an auction of 20-year Treasuries later on Wednesday, which will be an important gauge of global demand for fixed income.
The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes have traded at 1.5660 per cent, near a six-week low. Yields on 20-year Treasuries stood at 2.1531 per cent, close to a seven-week low.
In a sign of growing risk aversion, spot gold traded at $US1,778.18 per ounce, close to a seven-week high reached on Monday.