Asia shares up on multi-trillion dollar stimulus hopes


Pedestrians reflected in a window stand in front of a quotation board displaying the numbers on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo.Image copyright
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Shares in Asia have continued a global stock market rally on hopes global authorities will do more to combat the impact of the coronavirus.

On Thursday top US share indexes capped their best three-day gains since the Great Depression.

It comes as investors expect the US Congress to pass a massive stimulus package by the end of Saturday.

The Group of 20 (G20) major economies have also pledged to inject over $5 trillion into the global economy.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 1.6%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong was up by 1.6% and China’s Shanghai Composite rose 1%.

That followed the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 both climbing more than 6% on Wall Street, capping their best three-day streaks since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The tech-heavy Nasdaq ended higher for a second day, up 5.6%.

The rally comes after weeks of stock market volatility, as investors weigh the effect of measures to slow the spread of the virus against actions taken by governments and central banks to ease the impact of disruption to the global economy.

This month alone, the Dow has seen the six biggest one-day gains and five biggest one-day losses of its 135 year history.

In Washington DC, leaders of the US House of Representatives have said they are determined to pass a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Friday, or at the very latest on Saturday.

The huge impact of the outbreak on the American economy was highlighted on Thursday as official figures showed that almost 3.3 million people registered to claim jobless benefits for the week ended 21 March. That is nearly five times more than the previous record of 695,000 set in 1982.

Also on Thursday, G20 leaders pledged to inject more than $5 trillion into the world economy to limit job and income losses from the coronavirus and “do whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic.”

Their statement also contained the most conciliatory language on trade expressed by the group in years, promising to ensure the flow of vital medical supplies and other goods across borders and to resolve supply chain disruptions.

“The G20 is committed to do whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic,” along with the World Health Organization and other international institutions, it said.



BBC News

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