Asia-Pacific stocks down on emergence of new virus variant
05:43, 26 November 2021
Asia-Pacific stocks fell on Friday as the emergence of a new coronavirus variant in South Africa spooked investors.
The variant may be able to evade immune responses and has prompted Britain to introduce travel restrictions on South Africa. The World Health Organization will hold a special meeting on the new variant today.
Benchmark Nikkei 225 index reached a seven-week low, down 3% to 28,628.18 at midday. The broader TOPIX index also hit a seven-week low as it dropped 2.4% to 1,977.73.
New variant also in Hong Kong
The new coronavirus variant was also detected in Hong Kong, dragging the Hang Seng index to an eight-week low. The index was down 2.1% at 24,213.55 at midday.
The embattled property developer Evergrande plunged 7.5%, while peer Fantasia declined 4.4%.
Shanghai index slid 0.5% 3,566.18, while South Korea’s KOSPI hit a seven-week low. KOSPI plunged 1.2% to 2,944.94, with Samsung Electronics shedding 2% and SK Hynix falling 1.7%.
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Aussie stock in third weekly loss
The negative sentiment also weighed on Australian stocks, with the S&P/ASX200 index down 1.7% at 7,281.40.
Energy stocks fell the most as the sour mood exacerbated falling crude oil prices. Woodside Petroleum dropped 4.9%, Santos plunged 5.1%.