By Gina Lee
Investing.com – Asian stock markets were mostly down on Monday morning, with the global number of COVID-19 cases and deaths showing no sign of slowing down.
There are almost 14.5 million cases and over 600,000 deaths as of July 20, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The rising numbers dampened the recent release of positive economic data from China and the U.S. China reported a better-than-expected second quarter GDP year-on-year on Thursday. Some investors expected a continued, but slower recovery.
“Our base case remains for the economic recovery to continue, but for the deep V rebound evident in much recent data to give way to a slower bumpier recovery going forward,” Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP (OTC:AMLTF) Capital Investors Ltd, told Bloomberg.
“Shares are still vulnerable to a further correction or consolidation, with renewed lockdowns and the U.S. presidential election being the main risks,” he added.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 0.33% by 11:02 PM ET (4:02 AM GMT), with Japan reporting a 26.2% decline in June exports year-on-year earlier in the day. The fourth consecutive month of double-digit declines in exports, attributed to drastically decreased demand due to COVID-19, is an indication that Japan is experiencing its deepest recession in decades.
South Korea’s KOSPI fell 0.34% and the ASX 200 slid 0.66%, with the Australian government scheduled to release a ‘mini budget’ later in the week
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 0.10%. The city recorded a record 108 cases on Sunday, with the city tightening social distancing measures to require civil servants to work from home and mandate the wearing of masks in all shared indoor areas among others.
China’s Shanghai Composite jumped 2.06% and the Shenzhen Component was up 0.27%. The People’s Bank of China kept its benchmark lending rate steady for the third straight month earlier in the day, as was widely expected. The one-year loan prime rate remains at 3.85% and the five-year LPR remains at 4.65%.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress will start debate on fresh stimulus measures during the week ahead, with some existing measures due to end at the end of July.