Global economy, coronavirus, currencies in focus

Stocks in Asia were set to trade higher on Monday as hopes rise on economies reopening, even as U.S. reported record job losses in April.

Futures pointed to a higher open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 20,270 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 20,230. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 20,179.09.

Shares in Australia were also set for a positive start to the trading week. The SPI futures contract was at 5,405, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 5,391.10.

Investors will continue to watch for developments on the coronavirus front amid hopes of global economies reopening as social distancing measures are eased. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined over the weekend a “conditional plan” to slowly reopen society and the economy. Disney is also set to reopen its Disneyland theme park in Shanghai on Monday.

Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin warned that the jobless numbers could “get worse before they get better.” He said Sunday that the unemployment rate stateside may have already reached 25% as the administration seeks to reopen the country’s economy. Mnuchin’s comments came after the U.S. on Friday reported a record 20.5 million job losses in April.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 99.854 after seeing levels above 100 last week.

The Japanese yen traded at 106.89 per dollar after weakening from levels below 106.2 last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at 0.6518 after rising from levels below $0.64 in the previous trading week.

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