Asian stocks rose this morning after better-than-expected trade data from China and as major economies began easing coronavirus restrictions.
Data published today showing China’s exports in March fell only 6.6 per cent from the same period a year earlier – a smaller drop than the expected 14 per cent plunge – helped boost confidence. Imports eased a modest 0.9 per cent compared with expectations for a 9.5 per cent drop.
Analysts said that shares were also helped by the slowdown in new coronavirus cases in major economies and the impact of government stimulus packages globally.
Chinese shares strengthened on Tuesday with the blue-chip index CSI300 up 1.4 per cent, Australia’s ASX 200 gained 1.8 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei N225 rose 2.8 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HSI) rose nearly 0.8 per cent and MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares excluding Japan gained more than half a per cent.
Despite the positivity, analysts warned it was too soon to assume markets had weathered the worst of coronavirus.
“While a couple of tail risks appear to be moderating, markets are not out of danger as the impending activity and earnings growth hole in the global economy appears to be larger than we first thought,” Perpetual analyst Matthew Sherwood wrote in a note.
“In the absence of covid-19 vaccine we seriously question how much of the economy can re-open without threatening flare-ups in virus case numbers.”
In Europe, thousands of shops across Austria were set to reopen on Tuesday while Spain let some businesses get back to work on Monday though shops, bars and public spaces were set to stay closed until at least 26 April.
In the US, which has recorded the highest number of casualties from the virus in the world, President Donald Trump said on Monday his administration was close to completing a plan to re-open the U.S. economy.
However, some state governors have signalled that the decision on when to restart businesses lay with them.