Asia-Pacific markets lower as IMF downgrades growth forecast for the region

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific declined in Thursday morning trade, as the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday downgraded its growth forecast for Asia-Pacific.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.46% in early trade while the Topix index fell 0.69%. Shares of ANA Holdings dropped more than 3% following reports that the airline is set to post multi-billion dollar losses for the fiscal year to March. Japan Airlines also saw its stock decline 2.5%.

South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.77%.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia fell, with the S&P/ASX 200 down more than 1%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.34% lower.

The IMF on Wednesday downgraded its forecast for Asia-Pacific to -2.2% in 2020 — “the worst outcome for this region in living memory.”

“Our latest Regional Economic Outlook shows that a recovery started in the third quarter, but growth engines are not all firing with the same power across countries, leading to a multispeed recovery,” Jonathan D. Ostry, acting director of the Asia and Pacific Department at the IMF, wrote in a blog post.

Overnight stateside, stocks dipped as investors continued to watched for developments in U.S. coronavirus stimulus negotiations. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 97.97 points, or 0.4%, to closwe at 28,210.82. The S&P 500 declined 0.2% to finish its trading day at 3,435.56 while the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.3% to close at 11,484.69.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 92.715 after slipping from levels above 93.2 earlier this week,

The Japanese yen traded at 104.68 per dollar following a steep strengthening from levels above 105 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7104 after yesterday’s rise from below $0.71.

Oil prices dipped in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.17% to $41.66 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.25% to $39.93 per barrel.

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