Via CNBC

Stocks in Asia fell in Monday morning trade as investors await the reopening of China’s markets amid an ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dropped 1.68% in early trade as shares of index heavyweight Fast Retailing fell 2.71%. The Topix index also declined 1.53%. South Korea’s Kospi also shed 1.39%.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia tumbled as well, with the S&P/ASX 200 dropping 1.45% as shares of major miner BHP plunged about 3%.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.54% lower.

Investors will be bracing for the return of trade for mainland Chinese stocks at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN on Monday, following an extended holiday amid an ongoing virus outbreak that has taken more than 300 lives in the country so far.

The People’s Bank of China announced Sunday that it will inject 1.2 trillion yuan (approx. $173 billion) worth of liquidity into the markets via open market reverse repo operations. The Chinese central bank said the overall liquidity in the system would be 900 billion yuan (approx. $130 billion) more as compared to the same period last year.

A private survey of China’s manufacturing activity is also set to be released later on Monday, with the Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for January expected around 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.425 after declining from levels above 97.8 last week.

The Japanese yen, often viewed as a safe-haven currency in times of economic uncertainty, traded at 108.37 per dollar after strengthening sharply from levels above 108.9 last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6691 after slipping from levels above $0.676 in the previous trading week.

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Oil prices fell in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures declining 1.48% to $55.78 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also dropped 1.2% to $50.94 per barrel.

Here’s at’s on tap for Monday:

  • China: Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index at 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN