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Nikkei Markets

Asian stocks decline as pandemic worsens in US, Europe

Indian equities slump more than 13% as country moves into lockdown

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan fell Monday, weighed by rising coronavirus infections and deaths in the U.S. and in Europe that prompted more restrictions on citizens.

The Nikkei Asia300 index fell 6.1% to 995.02.

After a brief respite on Friday, Asian equities came under renewed pressure at the beginning of a new week. Over the weekend, the number of total known cases of the virus surpassed 33,000 in the U.S. The number of cases in the country jumped by more than 20,000 in the last four days, according to data maintained by John Hopkins University. The surge in the confirmed cases comes alongside an increase in the number of people being tested.

In Europe, Spain reported 14,000 more cases in the last four days and Italy more than 22,000. Spain and Italy, the most affected countries in Europe, have reported total deaths of 1,700 and 5,700, respectively.

To contain the spread of the outbreak, Italy banned travel within the country and shut down all industrial production. Spain extended the state of emergency and Germany banned a gathering of more than two people.

In Asia, India has put several parts of the country under a lockdown. The nation has witnessed an increase in the number of infections in recent days.

The containment efforts further deteriorated the outlook of the global economy.

"The coronavirus has pushed the world economy into a deep recession. From a top-down perspective, we now expect global real GDP to contract by about 1% in 2020, which would be somewhat weaker than the year following the global financial crisis (of 2008)," Goldman Sachs said in a note.

Risk appetite in Asia was further marred by the U.S. Senate's failure to advance a coronavirus relief bill. U.S. equity index futures dropped 2.3%.

The BSE Sensex, India's benchmark equity index, slumped 13.2% on Monday. Trading was halted temporarily earlier in the day after the 10% circuit was triggered. Lenders were among the biggest losers. ICICI Bank plunged 17.9% and State Bank of India lost 13.4%.

Thailand's gauge dropped 9.1% despite the country's central bank on Friday cutting the key rate to a record low at an emergency meeting.

Hong Kong-shares of Chinese supply-chain manager Li & Fung soared 88% to HK$0.940 after saying on late Friday that it had received a privatization proposal from a company backed by its founders at a price of HK$1.25 per share.

Anhui Conch Cement fell 2.1% after reporting last year's earnings, recording a 12.6% increase in its net profit.

Among major losers in the technology space, Samsung Electronics dropped 6.4% while Tencent Holdings lost 3.2%.

--Nimesh Vora

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