Asia Rises as China Returns to Production

Asia markets mostly recovered on Wednesday after tumbling a day before, with investors closely monitoring China’s progress in returning to work as the country deals with the coronavirus outbreak. Oil prices also bounced back.

The Nikkei 225 index recovered 206.9 points, or 0.9%, to 23,400.70.

On Monday, data showed Japan’s growth declining much worse than expected, shrinking the fastest in six years. Its outlook was also dimmed by the impact of coronavirus hitting the economy.

Japan released its trade data for January, showing that exports fell 2.6% year-on-year, less than the 6.9% drop expected by economists. In December, Japan’s exports fell 6.3%.

The safe-haven Japanese yen weakened to 110.12 against the U.S. dollar, after trading at around the 109 level for the past few days.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index rebuilt 125.61 points, or 0.5%, to 27,655.81. The city reported its second coronavirus death, marking the sixth fatality outside mainland China.

Singapore, one of the worst hit by the outbreak outside China, unveiled its budget on Tuesday. The Southeast Asian nation said it has set aside 5.6 billion Singapore dollars ($4.02 billion U.S.) in the coming year to help businesses and households tide through the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Australian stocks were also going in an upward direction. Gold stocks surged as prices of the safe-haven asset jumped again. Evolution Mining soared 5.1% and Newcrest bounced 3.3%.

Australia-listed shares of Domino’s Pizza surged as high as 15.2% before jumping 9.64% by the close. The pizza chain on Wednesday reported half-year net profits soared nearly 30% to 69.2 million Australian dollars ($46.3 million U.S.), while revenue jumped 29%

Following a slump in spending from Chinese gamblers, Australian casino operator Crown Resorts said its half-year profit tumbled.

As the country imposed restrictions on anyone arriving from mainland China, the casino saw turnover from high rollers, who are largely Chinese, plummet by more than a third. Its shares closed down 0.3%.

The Australian dollar strengthened to 0.6703, from around the 0.66 level earlier.

CHINA

The CSI 300 dropped 6.2 points, or 0.2%, to 4,051.31.

China’s return to work after its extended shutdown will be closely tracked. State media reported on Tuesday that more than 80% of its central state-owned enterprises’ roughly 20,000 manufacturing subsidiaries have resumed work.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex regained 109.86 points, or 0.9%, to 11,758.84

In Korea, the Kospi index inched 1.46 points, or 0.1%, to 2,210.34

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index climbed 17.08 points, or 0.5%, to 3,213.71

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 progressed 45.19 points, or 0.4%, to 11,981.03

In Australia, the ASX 200 gained 30.86 points, or 0.4%, to 7,144,56