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Asian markets extend Wall St losses; COVID cases are on the rise in China

Stocks fell in Asia after last week’s decline on Wall Street

Asian markets extend Wall St losses; COVID cases in China riseBy ELAINE KURTENBACHAP Business WriterThe Associated PressBANGKOK

BANGKOK (AP) – Stocks in Asia slipped on Monday after last week’s decline on Wall Street as signs of recovery urge in coronavirus infections in China the suggested progress could be bumpy restore its “zero-COVID” pandemic restrictions.

Attention was shifting to an update on US consumer prices and the Federal Reserve’s last meeting of the year.

The last big inflation figure before the Fed’s next decision is expected on Tuesday, as economists expect the consumer price index to show inflation slowed to 7.3% last month from 7, 7% in October.

The meetings of major central banks, including the Fed, mean that “there is the potential for a whole load of volatility in the markets; especially given the palpable tensions between inflation risks and fears of a policy-induced recession,” analysts at Mizuho Bank said in a comment.

A survey of Japanese manufacturers showed a sharply worsening outlook, with the possibility of a growing recession in the US and other major markets. The business survey index fell to minus 3.6% in October-December from 1.7% the previous quarter as producers grappled with high energy and other commodity prices .

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 2.1% to 19,475.16 and the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.9% to 3,179.04.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.2% to 27,842.33 while Seoul’s Kospi lost 0.7% to 2,373.02.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.5% to 7,180.80.

Markets in Thailand have been closed for holidays.

China was the creation of more intensive care facilities and trying to bolster hospitals as it rolls back virus checks that have confined millions to their homes, squeezed economic growth and sparked protests.

The precautions come when the number of cases appears to be on the rise, even if a sharp reduction in the number of tests makes measuring any changes uncertain.

President Xi Jinping’s government is officially committed to stopping the transmission of the virus, the latest major country to try. But the latest moves suggest the ruling Communist Party will tolerate more cases without quarantines or shutting down travel or businesses as it concludes its “zero-COVID” strategy.

A rough day of trading on Wall Street ended with shares significantly lower on Friday.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.7%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.9%. Shares of smaller companies fell even more, sending the Russell 2000 index down 1.2%. The indices marked their first losing week in the last three.

The S&P 500 closed down 3.4% for the week and is now down 17.5% this year.

The US government reported that the prices paid at the wholesale level were 7.4% more in November compared to a year earlier. That’s a slowdown from October’s wholesale inflation rate of 8.1%, but it was still slightly worse than economists expected.

The Fed has fought inflation by aggressively raising interest rates to raise the cost of borrowing and slow economic activity. The central bank has already raised its key overnight rate to a range of 3.75% to 4%, up from virtually zero through March.

He is generally expected to hike rates another half a percentage point on Wednesday, following a two-day meeting.

Stocks have recouped some of their losses recently, as inflation has slowed since peaking in the summer. But it remains too high, increasing the risk that the Federal Reserve will have to maintain a sharp hike in interest rates to keep it fully under control.

In other trading on Monday, benchmark U.S. crude gained 56 cents to $71.58 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 44 cents to $71.02 on Friday.

Brent crude, the basis of prices for international trade, gained 50 cents to $76.60 a barrel.

The US dollar rose to 136.80 Japanese yen from 136.60 yen. The euro fell to $1.0518 from $1.0537.