Asia-Pacific stocks edge higher as coronavirus cases in the West surge; oil prices drop

  • Oil prices dropped in the morning of Asian trading hours. International benchmark Brent crude futures fell around 1.4% to $41.18 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also declined 1.38% to $39.30 per barrel.
  • Investor focus on Monday will likely be on the deteriorating coronavirus situation in the West, with the U.S. recently reporting a record-breaking number of new virus cases.
  • Developments out of China are also set to be watched, as the country's top leaders meet this week to plan for the next five years.

SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific stocks edged higher in Monday morning trade as new coronavirus cases surge in the U.S. as well in countries across Europe.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.22% in early trade while the Topix index added 0.16%. In South Korea, the Kospi gained 0.52%.

Shares in Australia also saw gains, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.47%.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.21% higher.

The Hong Kong market is closed on Monday for a holiday.

Meanwhile, oil prices dropped in the morning of Asian trading hours. International benchmark Brent crude futures fell around 1.4% to $41.18 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also declined 1.38% to $39.30 per barrel.

Developments out of China are set to be watched, as the country's top leaders meet this week to plan for the next five years.

Investor focus on Monday will also likely be on the deteriorating coronavirus situation in the West, with the U.S. recently reporting a record-breaking number of new virus cases.

Over in Europe, cases have also surged, with Reuters reporting that France registered record daily coronavirus infections while Italy ordered bars to close early and shut public gyms in a bid to stem a resurgence in the virus.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 92.824 after its bounce from levels below 92.8 last week.

The Japanese yen traded at 104.70 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 105 against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7132 following a rise form levels below $0.704 in the previous trading week.

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