Asian markets mostly down as virus fears grow

Tuesday March 31 2020

 

By Alawi Masare @AMasare maltz.nationmedia.com

Hong Kong. Asian markets fell Monday 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 equities -- which enjoyed a rally for much of the week -- ended 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 1 -- dropping 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.

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Governments and central banks have acted to shore up the global economy, pledging around $5 trillion in stimulus support, with China on Monday joining the party by lowering bank borrowing costs and pumping billions of dollars into financial markets, while Singapore also eased rates. (AFP)

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