- European stocks closed higher as bargain hunting after previous session’s steep losses, and positive reaction to a slew of stimulus announcements from governments and central banks lifted stock prices.
- US stocks saw considerable volatility early in the session but moved sharply higher over the course of the trading day. With the rally on the day, the major averages partly offset the sell-off seen in the previous session.
- Asian stocks seesawed before ending mixed after a White House adviser said the United States could pump $800 billion or more into the economy to minimize the economic damage from the coronavirus outbreak.
- Industrial production in the US increased by 0.6% from a month earlier in February 2020, recovering from a revised 0.5% drop in the January and beating market consensus of a 0.4% growth. Manufacturing activity edged up 0.1% boosted by a large gain for motor vehicles and parts, while production of civilian aircraft fell sharply. In contrast, mining output contracted 1.5%, reflecting broad-based declines among its components.
- Imports to Japan shrank 14% YoY to JPY 5.21 trillion in February of 2020, compared with market expectations of a 14.4% decrease and following a 3.6% decline a month earlier. It marked the tenth straight month of falling purchases, as were mainly dragged mineral fuels (-9.8%) and electrical machinery (-18.6%). In contrast, imports of raw materials climbed 6.2%. Among top trading partners, imports from China plummeted 47.1% as the coronavirus outbreak took a toll. Meanwhile, purchases from the US declined 5.9%.
- Japan’s trade surplus widened to JPY 1.11 trillion in February 2020 from JPY 0.33 trillion in the same month a year earlier and compared with market expectations of a JPY 0.92 trillion gap. It marked the first trade surplus in four months, as exports fell 1% year-on-year to JPY 6.32 trillion, whereas imports shrank 14% to JPY 5.21 trillion.
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