U.S. Congress, Coronavirus in North Asia, and Stocks

Congress and a stimulus package

It was an interesting day across Asia-Pacific. Importantly, stocks were mixed on December 21, as the coronavirus situation in parts of North Asia remains quite complicated. 

Let’s start with mainland Chinese stocks. The Shanghai Composite added 0.76% to 3,420.57. In the meantime, the Shenzhen Component gained 2.026% to end its trading day at 14,134.85.

It is worth noting that, China on Monday kept its Loan Prime Rate unchanged. Notably, the one-year and five-year LPR were kept at 3.85% and 4.65% respectively.

Interestingly, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 0.72% to close at 26,306.68. Hong Kong-listed shares of China’s largest chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, or SMIC, declined to 3.65%. The U.S. Commerce Department added the firm to its blacklist, and this decision had affected the shares of SMIC.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.18% to close at 26,714.42. At the same time, the Topix index fell 0.23% to finish its trading day at 1,789.05.

Moreover, South Korea’s Kospi index gained 0.23% to 2,778.65.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 slightly fell on the day to 6,669.90. Importantly, the downward moves came as the other states imposed travel restrictions on Sydney. As a result, the country’s most populous city is isolated from the rest of the country due to the rising number of coronavirus cases.

Stocks and various factors 

The situation in parts of North Asia, such as Japan and South Korea was quite tough and this factor could have affected the investor sentiment. Importantly, new coronavirus cases in South Korea reached a fresh record high on Sunday. In Japan, the country’s capital Tokyo saw its monthly tally of new coronavirus cases surpassing 10,000 for the first time on Sunday. 

Hopefully, the Food and Drug Administration decided to approve Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use. As a result, it is the second vaccine approved in the U.S., following Pfizer and BioNtTech’s.

Moreover, the U.S. Congress reached a $900 billion coronavirus relief package on Sunday. Importantly, Congressional leaders announced an agreement regarding a bill. This bill would send new federal assistance to households, small businesses, as well as health-care providers for the first time in months and provide $1.4 trillion to fund the government through September 30. Lawmakers made the right decision, as millions of Americans are struggling to deal with financial problems. Moreover, they should work the Joe Biden to boost the economy. The world’s largest economy has the potential to improve the situation in 2021. 

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