Asian stocks edged up on Thursday, supported by a fall in coronavirus cases and expectations of more Chinese stimulus to offset the economic impact of the epidemic.
Reuters reported that the epicentre of the outbreak in China’s Hubei reported just 349 new cases on Thursday, the lowest since Jan. 25, although it was accompanied by a change in diagnosis rules.
China is widely expected to cut its benchmark lending rate on Thursday, adding to a slew of fiscal and monetary measures in recent weeks aimed at cushioning the virus’ impact on the economy.
China also plans to take over HNA Group and sell off its airline assets, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS ticked up 0.1%.
Buoyed by the cheaper yen, Japan’s Nikkei .N225 rallied 1.5%. Markets in Australia and New Zealand minted record highs .NZ50.
“The lowering of interest rates, cutting of corporate tax rates, increasing money supply…these are all seen as very strong responses” from China, said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.
The prospect of central bank support and easier money also underpinned bonds, with U.S. Treasury yields steady, with benchmark 10-year yields last at 1.5815% US10YT=RR.
Furthermore Overnight pan-regional STOXX 600 index in Europe rose 0.8% to a record high. The Dow Jones .DJI, S&P 500 .SPX and Nasdaq .IXIC all gained. [.EU][.N]
More than 2,100 people have died from the coronavirus in China, spreading to more than two dozen countries, and governments around the world are trying to prevent it from becoming a global pandemic.