Stocks in Singapore and South Korea drop more than 2% as coronavirus deaths cross 100 in China
Stocks in Asia declined in Tuesday morning trade as fears rise over the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that continues to spread.
Meanwhile, shares in Australia also declined, as the S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.4%.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.95% lower.
Markets in China and Hong Kong are closed on Tuesday for holidays.
Chinese health authorities said Tuesday that the coronavirus outbreak has killed 106 people and infected 4,515.
“What is becoming a little clearer is that the Chinese economy will take a hit for a time, travel and tourism is being impacted in China, in Asia and elsewhere, including in Australia where the Chinese inbound tourism market is the largest market in exports of personal tourism and education,” David de Garis, a director and senior economist at National Australia Bank, wrote in a Tuesday morning note.
Airline stocks take a hit
Shares of airline stocks in the region dropped on Tuesday morning. South Korea’s Korean Air Lines plummeted more than 6.5% while Australia’s Qantas Airways fell 5.37%.
“To the extent that we’re still seeing exponential growth in the people that have contracted the virus and people that have died from the virus, I think the cruise companies and the broader travel companies are gonna have to be very cautious … with no potential end in sight,” James Hardiman, managing director of equities at Wedbush Securities, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday.
“In the near term, beyond just travel in and around China, my concern would be that all of these media reports … would start to … put some downward pressure on overall travel bookings outside of China even among Western consumers and I think there is some evidence that … at least very near term, that’s likely to happen,” Hardiman said.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow dropped 453.93 points to close at 28,535.80, wiping out its gains for the year. The S&P 500 dropped 1.6% to 3,243.63. The Nasdaq Composite had its worst day since August, dropping 1.9% to 9,139.31.
Currencies and oil
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 97.944 after seeing levels below 97.6 last week.
The Japanese yen, often seen as a safe-haven currency in times of economic uncertainty, traded at 108.98 against the dollar after seeing an earlier high of 108.81. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6749 after declining from levels above $0.68 yesterday.
Oil prices declined in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures slipping 0.47% to $59.04 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also shed 0.43% to $52.91 per barrel.