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Virus Worries Push China Down

What's New

. Led by a 3.04% loss in Chinese bourses, the biggest drop in more than eight months, Asian shares dropped today, with investors getting nervous about the spread of a new virus in China just as millions of people prepare to travel for the Chinese New Year.

. Deaths in China from the new coronavirus rose to 17 until yesterday, with nearly 600 cases confirmed. The outbreak has evoked memories of SARS in 2002-2003, another coronavirus which broke out in China and killed nearly 800 people in a global pandemic.

. Cases have been detected also in Hong Kong, Japan, and the United States, while the city of Wuhan has been put on lockdown, suspending flights and closing public transportation hubs.

. Airline stocks dropped across the world and oil futures slid to a seven-week low. EuroStoxx futures are also down suggesting that European equities are also due for a rough trading session.

. The Yen and Gold benefited from this, rising 0.25% and 0.08% respectively. US bond yields also declined to 1.75%, as demand for safe assets increased.

. Malaysia's top sugar refiner said it will increase purchases of the commodity from India, which according to two sources is part of efforts to calm down New Delhi amid an ongoing spat over palm oil imports.

. Australian data came out better than expected, with a larger inflow to employment than expected, albeit lower than the previous month. Still, it appears that this was due to part-timers, as full employment change dropped by 0.3K. The unemployment rate also dropped to 5.1%, while participation rate remained stable.

. Singapore CPI rose by 0.8% y/y in December, sending positive signals about the country's economy, which has been one of the collateral victims of the US-China trade war, while also negatively affected by the slump in the semiconductor sector.

Up and Coming

. The European Central Bank meeting today is not expected to result in any changes to the policy rate, even though we would expect some guidance as regards to the policy stance throughout this year.

. In the US, crude oil inventories are expected to decline this week, albeit slightly. In the case inventories come out positive, Oil prices are likely to stumble, following from yesterday's negative sentiment.

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