Asia markets extend gains

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HONG KONG

Equities rallied again Tuesday as investors seized on signs of a slowdown in the spread of the coronavirus in key hotspots and some governments began making plans to ease restrictions aimed at containing the disease. Crude prices were also lifted by hopes major producers will agree to cut output this week, while the pound clawed back some of its losses that came in response to news Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in intensive care. Asia extended Monday’s rally following a surge on Wall Street, with much-needed optimism on news that fresh cases were slowing in Spain, Germany, Italy and France. And in the US epicentre New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that for the first time the growth rate there was flat, while on Tuesday, China— where the disease first emerged late last year—reported no new deaths for the first time since January. Meanwhile, Denmark and Austria have started making plans to lift restrictions slowly as they see light at the end of the tunnel. “You can’t say that we’ve definitely turned the corner for certain but it does appear as though that is a good sign,” Mark Heppenstall, at Penn Mutual Asset Management, said. Tokyo and Shanghai stocks were both around two percent higher, while Hong Kong added 1.7 percent, and Seoul and Taipei each jumped 1.8 percent.—AFP

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