Asia Stocks Drop As Death Toll From Coronavirus Continues To Rise, Companies Hold Back
Markets in Asia Pacific continued to trade lower on Tuesday, as the novel Coronavirus continues to claim victims in the Hubei province of China.
The death toll from the virus rose to 106, with over 4,515 cases being confirmed by the end of Monday, according to the official numbers of the Chinese authorities reported by state-run Xinhua news agency.
Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province, remains in a partial lockdown as the authorities and healthcare workers try to curb the spread of the virus.
Two new cases were reported in the special administrative region of Macau and one in neighboring Taiwan. No new cases have been confirmed in Hong Kong over Sunday's eight.
Meanwhile, both international and domestic companies are restricting their day-to-day operations to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
With the virus outbreak and the inhabitants advised to avoid the get-together, businesses that are usually expected to generate greater revenues during the Chinese Lunar New Year are seeing their shops closed.
Multiple companies including the Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), the Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT), McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD), Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE:DAL), Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) and Airbnb Inc. have taken their own measures that include shutting their businesses in the Hubei province, offering free cancellations and rescheduling, and restricting employee travel to China, as reported by CNBC.
Japan's Nikkei 225 was down 0.61% at 23,200.77, and TOPIX traded 0.57% lower.
South Korea, where the markets were opening after a holiday, saw its benchmark KOSPI index drop 3.23% at 2,173.59.
Singapore's Straits Times Index was down 2.51% at 3,158.68.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 1.35% lower at 6,994.50. New Zealand's NZX 50 was down 1.03%.
Markets in China remain closed at least until February 3, Monday, as it extended the Lunar holiday in the wake of the virus.
Commodities, And Currencies
The United States benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 0.09% at $53.09. Brent Oil futures traded 0.22% lower at $58.45.
Gold February futures were up 0.06% at $1,578.35. Bitcoin extended 4.64% gains at $9,049.50.
The Japanese yen traded at 109.03 against the dollar, making a recovery after dropping as low as 108.86 earlier in the day. The Chinese yuan was unchanged against the dollar at 6.9367.
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