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Asian Markets Tumble as Investors Monitor Coronavirus Vaccine Developments

Chinese stocks joined the declining trend across Asia-Pacific markets on Wednesday morning, as investors continue to monitor coronavirus developments. Russia claimed to have developed the first vaccine in the world, while the U.S. was in a stalemate over virus aid talks.

Mainland Chinese stocks deepened their losses by late morning. The Shanghai composite fell nearly 2%, while the Shenzhen composite was down 2.69%. The Shenzhen component tumbled nearly 3%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 0.21%.

In South Korea, the Kospi was down 0.14%. Auto and techs stocks fell across the board. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.43%.

Japan’s markets bucked the trend. The Nikkei 225 was higher by 0.44%, while the Topix rose 1.16%.

Softbank shares fell 3.51% after posting a $12 billion quarterly profit on Tuesday. The return to profit came after the company reported historic losses of $13 billion for its last fiscal year.

In New Zealand, the central bank held the cash rate at 0.25% on Wednesday. It comes as the country increases restrictions again in Auckland as cases of local transmission were detected in the city after being virus-free for 102 days, according to Reuters.

New Zealand’s S&P/Nzx 50 lost 1.533% by the morning while markets in Thailand are closed for a holiday.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.823, swinging higher from levels above 93 seen earlier.

The Japanese yen traded at 106.72 per dollar, weakening from levels above 105 in the last few days. The Australian dollar changed hands at 0.7121, declining slightly.

Oil prices rose in the morning during Asian trading hours. International benchmark Brent crude futures edged up 0.49% to $44.72 per barrel. U.S. crude futures rose 0.38% to $41.77 per barrel.

Sources: Asian Markets, MonSun Asia, Refinitiv