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Asia stocks rise as IMF announces $50 billion package to combat coronavirus

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Via CNBC

Stocks in Asia Pacific traded higher Thursday morning after the Dow Jones Industrial Average soared more than 1,000 points overnight stateside.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also announced a $50 billion aid package on Wednesday to combat the impact of the coronavirus. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told CNBC the money is available “immediately” and is for low-income and emerging market countries. 

Shares in Australia led gains among the region’s major markets as the S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.27%, with shares of CSL surging 2.88%.

Australia’s January trade data released Thursday came in above expectations. The balance on goods and services came in at a surplus of $5.21 billion Australian dollars (approx. $3.445 billion) on a seasonally adjusted basis, above expectations of a surplus of $4.8 billion Australian dollars in a Reuters poll.

Meanwhile, the country warned on Thursday that the coronavirus crisis will deduct at least half a percentage point from growth in the current quarter, according to Reuters. Australia reported its second death from the disease, and a first from a local transmission.

Mainland Chinese stocks edged higher in early trade, with the Shanghai composite up about 0.6% while the Shenzhen component added 0.84%. The Shenzhen composite also gained 0.885%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.69%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 added 0.92% as shares of index heavyweight and conglomerate Softbank Group jumped more than 1%. The Topix index also traded 0.87% higher.

South Korea’s Kospi added 0.68% as shares of LG Chem soared more than 3%.  

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.6% higher.

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Investors will continue to monitor for developments on the coronavirus outbreak that has now spread worldwide, with more than 90,000 confirmed cases globally. 

The IMF’s Georgieva told CNBC on Wednesday that the organization would like to see the money from its aid package used first to bolster health care systems and then for targeted fiscal stimulus programs and to boost liquidity.

The moves by the IMF came amid a series of rate cuts from central banks this week, such as the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow skyrocketed 1,173.45 points higher to close at 27,090.86 — its second-highest point gain ever, and the second time in three days that the 30-stock average swung 1,000 points or higher. The S&P 500 jumped 4.2% to finish at 3,130.12, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 3.8% to close at 9,018.09.

The strong rally on Wednesday lifted the three major averages stateside out of correction territory, leaving them now less than 10% down from their 52-week highs.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 97.371 after seeing an earlier low of 97.326.

The Japanese yen changed hands at 107.44 per dollar after seeing lows above 108 earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar was at $0.6614 after its rise from levels below $0.655 this week.

Oil prices rose in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures adding 1.47% to $51.88 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 1.43% to $47.45 per barrel.

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— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.


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