Asian markets gained in early trading Wednesday, after Japan posted better-than-expected export data and as many manufacturing facilities in China restarted following en extended shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The number of new coronavirus cases in China declined for a second straight day, with 1,749 new infections and 136 new deaths. While that brings the total number of cases in mainland China to 74,185 and 2,004 deaths, new cases have fallen to fewer than 2,000 for each of the past two days.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.17% rose 0.4%, while the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.14% advanced 0.3% and the Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 +0.28% gained 0.5%.
Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.36% jumped 1.1% despite data showing exports fell for a 14th consecutive month, and a warning that the coronavirus would likely weigh on demand in the months ahead. But while exports fell 2.6% year-over-year in January, that was markedly better than the 7% contraction that had been forecast by FactSet economists.
South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.19% inched up slightly, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 +0.65% , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI +0.25% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX -0.49% ticked up. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.84% gained 0.3%.