Asian stocks slid early Monday, as tensions rose between the U.S. and China over the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The dollar inched higher, stock markets struggled for traction and oil dropped on Monday as a U.S.-China spat over the origin of the coronavirus put the brakes on optimism about an economic re-start as countries around the world ease restrictions.
- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 3.43% in early trade, with shares of Chinese tech juggernaut Tencent falling 3.55%.
- Meanwhile, South Korea’s Kospi plunged 1.87% while the Kosdaq index shed 0.31%.
- In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.25%.
- Shares of major bank Westpac dipped 0.36% after the firm announced a profit plunge in its first half earnings and a deferral in its dividend payment.
- Markets in China, Japan and Thailand are closed on Monday for holidays
In commodities sector, oil prices fell in the morning of Asian trading hours.
- International benchmark Brent crude futures down 2.76% to $25.71 per barrel.
- US crude futures also dropped 7.63% to $18.27 per barrel.
- In currency news, the US dollar index was at 99.287 after declining from levels above 100 last week.
- The Japanese yen traded at 106.73 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 107 last week.
- The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6389 after declining from levels above $0.648 last week.