Aussie Market Posts Biggest One-Day Jump in History; Japan’s Abe Promises ‘Strong Stimulus Package’

James Hyerczyk

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed but mostly lower on Monday as the surprisingly volatile Australian stock market bucked the trend with a bullish surge. Meanwhile, Japan, which led the region’s markets with a solid 17.14% gain last week, was the biggest loser. Nonetheless, the price action was muted somewhat as investors continued to assess the economic impact of the global coronavirus pandemic that is showing no sign of letting up especially in the United States.

On Monday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 19084.97, down 304.46 or -1.57%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 23175.11, down 309.17 or -1.32% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 1717.12, down 0.61 or -0.04%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 2747.21, down 24.99 or -0.90% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished at 5181.40, up 339.00 or 7.00%.

Australia Shares Post Record Daily Gain after Stimulus Package

Australian shares rose 7% on Monday in their biggest single-day jump in history, as a stimulus package to invigorate the coronavirus-hit economy and a slowdown in the rate of daily infections spurred buying.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison committed A$130 billion ($79.86 billion) to help save jobs as shockwaves from the virus pandemic rip through the economy, Reuters reported.

Australians were asked on Sunday to further isolate themselves from the public to keep the virus from spreading even as authorities said the rate of daily infections has halved in recent days.

Financial stocks closed 8.8% higher, their best since March 17, with all the “Big Four” banks adding more than 7%. The mining sector finished 3.8% higher, with BHP Group rising 4% while Rio Tinto climbed 2%.

Abe Says Japan Aims to Approve Avigan as Coronavirus Treatment

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday said his government will compile Japan’s “boldest ever” package of economic measures to address the impact of the new coronavirus, while also pushing for quick approval of the flu drug Avigan as a treatment for the infected, according to a report by the Nikkei Asian Review.

To support the economy, Abe said his government will formulate a “strong stimulus package of unprecedented scale” to lessen the blow to businesses and individuals brought about by the coronavirus.

Abe said the aid package, including medical measures, will be far bigger than the one put in place to deal with fallout from the global financial crisis in 2008. Fiscal, monetary and tax policy will be “fully mobilized” for the effort, the prime minister said and NAR reported.

The stimulus is expected to exceed 56 trillion yen ($518 billion), or 10% of Japan’s nominal gross domestic product. Abe also said he will submit a supplementary budget to the parliament “promptly within 10 days.”

Shares of Fujifilm Holdings jumped 5.98% after it said it was preparing to increase production of its anti-flu drug, Avigan.

This article was originally posted on FX Empire