Asian shares given pause by Tokyo lockdown talk

Asian share markets hit pause on Monday as reports of a possible tightening in coronavirus emergency rules for Tokyo pulled Japanese stocks off 30-year highs, while also lifting the safe-haven yen.

Asian Shares

  • Japan’s Nikkei shed its early gains to fall 1.1% when Fuji TV reported the government was considering a state of emergency for capital Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures.
  • MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.1%, a whisker from a record high.
  • E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 dipped 0.2% after touching a new all-time top in early trade.

Currency

  • The dollar index was last at 89.786, not far from its recent 2-1/2-year low of 89.515 having shed almost 7% in 2020.
  • The euro inched up to $1.2245, having run into profit taking late last week when it reached the highest since early 2018 at $1.2309. It gained almost 9% over 2020.
  • The dollar slipped to 103.02 yen, and looked in danger of testing key support at 102.55. Sterling was firm at $1.3674, within spitting distance of its recent top of $0.13686.
  • The decline in the dollar has been a support for gold, leaving the metal 0.6% firmer at $1,910 an ounce.

Oil Prices

  • Oil prices have steadied after a couple of months of solid gains, with Brent meeting resistance around $52.50 a barrel. The rebound still left Brent down 21.5% for the year, and WTI 20.5%.
  • On Monday, Brent crude futures fell 8 cents to $51.72, while U.S. crude eased 12 cents to $48.40 a barrel.