Asian Markets Tumble After Trump Announces Europe Travel Ban

Asian stock markets are tumbling on Thursday and U.S. stock futures extended losses after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic and as U.S. President Donald Trump’s address on the coronavirus failed to ease investors’ concerns about the economic impact of the outbreak.

Trump announced that all travel from Europe to the U.S. will be suspended for 30 days, in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Investors are worried that the travel ban will further add to the existing business disruptions.

The Australian market is extending losses from the previous session after U.S. stocks plunged overnight and the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Australian government unveiled a A$17.6 billion stimulus package to tackle the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. However, the news failed to boost investor sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 325.60 points or 5.69 percent to 5,400.30, after falling to a low of 5,290.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 327.40 points or 5.66 percent to 5,461.90. Australian stocks slipped into bear market territory on Wednesday.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is tumbling more than 5 percent, BHP is losing almost 4 percent and Rio Tinto is lower by more than 2 percent.

Gold miners are also weak after safe-haven gold prices fell overnight. Newcrest Mining is tumbling almost 7 percent and Evolution Mining is losing more than 4 percent.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Westpac and National Australia Bank are lower in a range of 2.3 percent to 2.9 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is declining almost 2 percent.

Oil stocks are also lower after crude oil prices fell 4 percent overnight. Oil Search is lower by more than 6 percent, Woodside Petroleum is losing almost 3 percent and Santos is down 0.6 percent.

A2 Milk Co. said it will begin offering its milk drinks in Canada under a new production and distribution deal with Agrifoods. However, the New Zealand-based dairy producer’s shares are declining more than 2 percent.

In economic news, Australia will release its inflation forecast for March today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. The local unit was quoted at $0.6476, down from $0.6505 on Wednesday.

The Japanese market is losing and the safe-haven yen strengthened after U.S. stocks plunged overnight and the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is falling 594.71 points or 3.06 percent to 18,821.35, after touching a low of 18,805.76 earlier. Japanese stocks closed at a fourteen-month low on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank and Fast Retailing are lower by more than 4 percent each. In the tech space, Advantest is declining more than 2 percent and Tokyo Electron is down more than 1 percent.

In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is falling more than 4 percent and Inpex is lower by more than 2 percent after crude oil prices tumbled overnight.

The major exporters are lower on a stronger yen. Panasonic and Canon are down more than 3 percent each, while Mitsubishi Electric is lower by almost 2 percent and Sony is declining more than 1 percent.

Among auto stocks, Toyota Motor is lower by almost 3 percent and Honda Motor is declining more than 1 percent. Toyota has told its union that it will not raise base pay this year, marking the first time since 2013 it is denying a base pay hike during annual wage talks.

Among the worst performers, Mitsubishi Estate is losing almost 6 percent, Recruit Holdings is lower by more than 5 percent and Asahi Group Holdings is tumbling almost 5 percent.

On the economic front, the Bank of Japan said that producer prices in Japan were down 0.4 percent on month in February. That was shy of expectations for a decline of 0.3 percent following the 0.2 percent increase in January.

Japan is also scheduled to release first-quarter results for the indexes for all industry and manufacturing from BSI.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the 104 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand is falling 5 percent, Taiwan is tumbling almost 5 percent and South Korea is losing more than 4 percent. Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia are lower by almost 4 percent each, while Shanghai is declining almost 2 percent and Malaysia is declining 1 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply lower on Wednesday amid lingering concerns about the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Johns Hopkins said the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has jumped to more than 1,100 from just over 100 a week ago. Traders also seemed to be expressing continued uncertainty about whether expected stimulus measures will be adequate to soften the economic blow from the outbreak.

The Dow plunged 1,464.94 points or 5.9 percent to 23,553.22, with the blue chip index entering bear market territory as it closed down more than 20 percent from its record high last month. The Nasdaq plummeted 392.20 points or 4.7 percent to 7,952.05 and the S&P 500 tumbled 140.85 points or 4.9 percent to 2,741.38.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on Wednesday. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index tumbled by 1.4 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.6 percent and the German DAX Index fell by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil prices fell on Wednesday, reversing early gains. WTI crude oil futures for April tumbled $1.38 or 4.02 percent to $32.98 a barrel.

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