Asian markets muted as coronavirus cases surge in U.S., Europe

Asian shares were little changed in muted trading Monday amid widespread uncertainty over what the U.S. presidential election will portend for markets and economic policy.

Asian shares

  • MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan inched up 0.1%, still short of its recent 31-month peak.

  • Japan’s Nikkei dithered either side of steady.

  • South Korea’s main index lost 0.3%.

  • Chinese blue chips shed 0.5% as the country’s leaders met to chart the nation’s economic course for 2021-2025, balancing growth with reforms amid an uncertain global outlook and deepening tensions with the United States.

Currency Markets

  • The euro was holding at $1.1836 and just under its recent top of $1.1880.
  • The dollar was pinned at 104.86 yen and not far from last week’s trough of 104.32.
  • The dollar index was a fraction firmer at 92.904, after shedding almost 1% last week.

Commodities

  • In commodity markets, gold edged down 0.1% to $1,898 an ounce.
  • Oil prices fell further in anticipation of a surge in Libyan crude supply and demand concerns caused by surging coronavirus cases in the United States and Europe.
  • Brent crude futures lost 73 cents to $41.04 a barrel, while U.S. crude also fell 73 cents to $39.12.

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