Asia-Pacific shares dipped on Friday after President Donald Trump said he and his wife will quarantine after a close aide tested positive for the coronavirus.
Losses were limited to markets in Japan and Australia. Markets in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and India are closed on Friday for holidays. China’s stock and bond markets, foreign exchange and commodity futures markets are closed October 1-8 for the Golden Week holiday.
In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 23029.90, down 155.22 or -0.67%. The Topix Index slipped 1%. The Tokyo Stock Exchange returned to trade on Friday following a halting of trade yesterday caused by a hardware glitch.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed at 5791.50, down 81.40 or -1.39%.
Singapore’s Straits Times Index slipped 1.06% in afternoon trade. Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan Index dipped 0.33%.
Trump Tests Positive for Coronavirus
President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19 early Friday, and is set to quarantine and recover at the White House.
In a tweet early Friday morning, Trump said: “We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”
Shortly after Trump’s tweet, U.S. stock futures moved sharply lower with Dow futures falling more than 500 points at one point.
White House physician Sean Conley said in a memo early Friday morning: “The President and First Lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.”
He also said he expects Trump to “continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering.”
Japan’s Jobs Market Worsens in August as Coronavirus Damage Persists
Japan’s unemployment rate rose in August to its highest in over three years and job availability fell to a more than six-year low, government data showed on Friday, indicating damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic persisted through the month.
Japan’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose to 3.0% in August, the highest since May 2017, labor ministry data showed. The result met analysts’ median forecast of 3.0%.
Australian August Retail Sales Fall 4%, Victoria Hit Hard
Australian retail sales fell 4% in August from the month earlier, official data showed on Friday, with the virus-stricken state of Victoria bearing the brunt of the slowdown. Victoria suffered a 12.6% drop as a strict lockdown saw many businesses shut their doors to customers. There were also declines in most other states.