SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific fell in morning trade on Thursday following an overnight plunge on Wall Street as coronavirus cases continue to surge in the West.
Australia led losses among the region’s major markets, as the S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.54%, with shares of the country’s so-called Big Four banks declining: Commonwealth Bank of Australia dipped 0.5%, Westpac slipped 1.64%, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group fell 2.82% and National Australia Bank shed 1.54%.
South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.22%.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.42% lower.
Covid-19 spread in the West
Japan retail sales falls on-year in September
Japan’s retail sales fell 8.7% in September as compared to a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s Preliminary Report on the Current Survey of Commerce released Thursday. That compared against a median market forecast for a 7.7% decline, according to Reuters.
Following the data release, the Japanese yen traded at 104.32 per dollar, having strengthened from levels above 104.8 against the greenback earlier this week.
The Bank of Japan is also set to announce its interest rate decision and release its outlook report on Thursday.
Currencies and oil
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.432 after seeing a jump from levels below 93.2 earlier in the trading week.
The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7057 after yesterday’s sharp drop from above $0.712.
What’s on tap:
- Japan: Bank of Japan’s interest rate decision and quarterly outlook report