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  • Most Asia-Pacific shares remain offered amid fears of covid strain, no-deal Brexit.
  • PBOC keeps benchmark rates unchanged, Hong Kong to join the league that bans UK travels.
  • Capitol Hill reached stimulus deal, passed one-day stopgap funding to give final touches to the aid package.

Asian equities stay heavy while heading into Monday’s European session as fears of a new strain of the coronavirus (COVID-19) join Brexit deadlock to dim the optimism over the US covid aid package. As portraying the mood, MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares struggles for a clear direction whereas Japan’s Nikkei 225 prints 0.23% intraday losses by press time.

In doing so, Japanese traders ignore calls of market intervention backed by Nikkei as well as chatters over JPY106 trillion budget for fiscal year (FY) 2021-22. On the same line is Australia’s ASX 200 but New Zealand’s (NZ) NZX 50 marks over 1.0% losses despite the recovery in NZ Credit Card Spending for November, from -6.3% to -5.6%.

Chinese equities print gains, followed by markets in Indonesia, amid hopes of further stimulus. Early in Asia, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) matched wide market forecasts of keeping the one-year Prime Lending Rates at 3.65% while also holding the five-year rates at 4.65%.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng drops 0.20% as it followed Canada, Turkey and Europe’s footsteps to ban flights from the UK, starting from December 22. Furthermore, India’s BSE Sensex prints mild losses amid broadly dull sentiment whereas stock futures in the US, Europe and the UK also fail to welcome the US policymaker’s ability to strike a covid aid package deal.

Looking forward, market sentiment will evolve over how Britain manages to tame the new strain of COVID-19, needless to mention about Brexit. However, optimism over the US aid package may keep bears away as traders draw near the year-end celebrations.