Hong Kong: Asian markets rose Monday as some of the world's worst-hit countries reported falling death rates, providing some much-needed hope in the battle against the coronavirus, though oil prices dipped after a meeting of top producers was delayed.
While the disease continues its deadly sweep across the planet, with more than 1.25 million now infected and nearly 70,000 dead, news out of Europe that fatalities were easing has lifted spirits on trading floors.
"Focus in markets will now turn to the path out of lockdown and to what extent containment measures can be lifted without risking a second wave of infections," said National Australia Bank's Tapas Strickland.
The relatively upbeat news lifted Asian markets, which shrugged off data Friday showing a massive drop in US jobs in March that added to news that millions of people had applied for unemployment benefits.
Tokyo, Sydney and Manila all rose more than four percent, while Seoul and Singapore gained almost four percent. Hong Kong and Jakarta rallied more than two percent, while Taipei added 1.6 percent.
In early trade, London rose more than two percent, Frankfurt surged more than four percent and Paris piled on more than three percent.
However, observers remain cautious as the US enters what Trump said would be "a time that's going to be very horrendous" with "some really bad numbers".
Attention this week will be on a planned meeting of OPEC and other key crude producers aimed at easing a supply glut that has sent oil prices crashing.
Both main contracts soared last week as Trump said Saudi Arabia and Russia would hold talks on ending their price war, while it also emerged OPEC would be holding a teleconference on Monday.
However, investors were dealt a blow over the weekend when the meeting was delayed to Thursday, while analysts said there were doubts that the US would take part in them, which could be a major sticking point for Moscow and Riyadh.
On currency markets the pound was struggling after news broke that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been admitted to hospital as a "precautionary step" as he had failed to shake off coronavirus symptoms after 10 days....