Asia Dips, Waiting for Economies to Reopen

Stocks in Asia Pacific mostly declined on Thursday as investors continued to monitor the reopening of economies amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 sagged 42.84, or 0.2%, to 20,552.31.

Japan’s trade data for April released by the country’s Ministry of Finance on Thursday showed exports in April plunging 21.9% as compared to a year earlier. That was less than the 22.7% drop predicted by economists.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.83 per U.S. dollar after touching levels below 107.5 yesterday.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong faltered 119.92 points, or 0.5%, to 24,280.03.

Investors also likely continued to watch for developments on the coronavirus pandemic, as the World Health Organization said the number of newly reported cases globally hit a daily record this week, amid authorities around the world attempting to ease lockdown measures put in place to curb the virus’ spread.

Markets had gotten a boost earlier in the week after Moderna announced a positive development for a potential coronavirus vaccine.
On Wednesday, in response to a STAT News report that vaccine experts were skeptical of Moderna’s new vaccine data, the firm’s chairman told media outlets it would never put out data on its potential vaccine for the coronavirus that was different from "reality."

In other markets

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 sank 21.43 points, or 0.5%, to 3,913.79.

In Korea, the Kospi added 8.67 points, or 0.4%, to 1,998.31

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index fell back 6.6 points, or 0.3%, to 2,555.34

In Taiwan, the Taiex index raced ahead 100.51 points, or 0.9%, to 11,008.31

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 doffed 56.51 points, or 0.5%, to 10,731.55.

In Australia, the ASX 200 slipped 22.61 points, or 0.4%, to 5,550.43.