Asian markets closed mostly higher Tuesday as investors cheered good news about China’s factory output amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 328 points, or nearly 1.50%, at the closing bell, while the index in Shanghai earned just over one-tenth of one percent.

The gains were posted after Beijing announced earlier in the day that its official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) was 52.0 in March, rebounding from a record-low of 35.7 in February.

Investors were also cheered by Monday’s surge on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all earning well over 3%.

But Japan’s Nikkei and Australia’s S&P/ASX indexes both finished in negative territory, with the Nikkei losing just under one percent and the S&P/ASX dropping 2%.  The Nikkei dropped a total of 10.5% for the month of March, its biggest monthly decline since May 2010. 

European indexes were trading in positive territory by mid-morning, with London’s FTSE, the DAX in Frankfurt and France’s CAC 40  posting gains between 1.5% and 2.5% combined. 

Oil markets also enjoyed a welcomed surge in prices after sinking to their lowest levels since 2002.  Prices have been plummeting due to fallen demand triggered by the pandemic combined with a glut of supply due to a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Source: Voice of America

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