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Asia-Pacific stocks trade lower as new coronavirus strain in U.K. weighs on investor sentiment

SINGAPORE — Divisions in Asia-Pacific declined in Tuesday trade following investor jitters overnight on Wall Street over a new coronavirus injury in the U.K.

Mainland Chinese stocks declined in early trade: The Shanghai composite shed 0.38% while the Shenzhen component sagged 0.252%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.47% in morning trade while the Topix index fell 0.9%. South Korea’s Kospi sank 0.37%.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.67%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.26% quieten.

Australia’s retail sales jumped 7% in November as compared with October on a seasonally adjusted basis, conforming to preliminary figures released by the country’s Bureau of Statistics.

Following that data release, the Australian dollar interchanged hands at $0.7573, after dropping below $0.75 yesterday.

Developments surrounding the coronavirus pandemic likely persisted to weigh on investor sentiment, following the discovery of a new Covid strain in the U.K. that has prompted tighter lockdowns and travel restrictions across Europe.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar pointer, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.178 after a jump to levels above 90.8 earlier.

The Japanese yen crafted at 103.33 per dollar, after strengthening from levels above 103.6 against the greenback yesterday.

Oil prices were reduce in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures shedding 0.29% to $50.76 per barrel. U.S. unfinished futures declined 0.35% to $47.80 per barrel.

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