Asian Stocks Up as Some Economies Reopen for Business

This post was originally published on this site – Asian stocks were up on Tuesday morning with some U.S. states and European countries re-opening their economies the day before after loosening lockdowns to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

Down Under, the ASX 200 rose 0.97by 11:14 PM ET (4:14 AM GMT), with the Reserve Bank of Australia due to announce its policy decision later in the day.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up b0.37% even as investors continue to digest an 8.9% contraction in the city’s economy during the first quarter year-on-year.

Commenting on the decline, Hong Kong’s biggest since 1974, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said that the “external environment is still very challenging” even though the virus situation in the city “seems to be under control.”

“Going forward in the second quarter, we believe that even if there is improvement, the improvement will be gradual and small,” he added.

Investors are also monitoring the U.S.-China spat over the origins of the virus, with the World Health Organization jumping in during a briefing overnight to demand proof to back top U.S. officials’ accusations that the vrius originated in a Wuhan lab.

“At this point of time we think this is more of a risk to monitor rather than something that breaks the fundamental economic story,” Chetan Ahya, chief economist at Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), said in a Bloomberg interview.

“We are more focused on what the policy reactions which every government and central bank is taking up and I think that’s a more important driver right now for the economy.”