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Australian Shares Boosted by Fourth Stimulus Package; Retail Sales Post Historic Plunge

James Hyerczyk

The major Asia-Pacific stocks indexes are trading mixed on Thursday with some challenging two-month highs as government stimulus expectations supported investor confidence in an economic recovery from the global coronavirus pandemic.

MSCI’s broadcast index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.4%, earlier touching its highest level since March 9.

Shares in Australia rose 0.66% after the country’s prime minister unveiled a fourth stimulus package to repair the economy.

Chinese shares were little changed due to lingering worries about diplomatic tension between the United States and China.

At 05:55 GMT, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index is trading 22649.20, up 35.44 or +0.16%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is at 24301.13, down 24.49 or -0.10% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index is trading 2153.46, up 6.46 or +0.30%.

China’s Shanghai Index is trading 2918.07, down 5.30 or -0.18% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index settled at 5983.00, up 41.40 or +0.70%.

Australia Launches $470 Million Stimulus Package for Construction Sector

Australia will give eligible residents A$25,000 ($17,323) to build or significantly renovate their homes, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday, as Canberra moves to revive a construction sector badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Dubbed HomeBuilder, the package worth A$680 million ($471 million) is Australia’s fourth economic stimulus package as it seeks to repair an economy that is now in its first recession in 29 years.

Morrison said the package would support jobs and allow people to build a family home, a long-held dream for many Australians.

Australian Retailers Suffer Record Sales Slump, Supports Grim Outlook for Second-Quarter GDP

Australian retail sales suffered a historic plunge in April while the trade surplus narrowed as the coronavirus battered the economy, leaving the nation facing its worst ever contraction in the current quarter.

Retail Sales slumped a seasonally adjusted 17.7% in April, their biggest on record, from an 8.5% jump in March, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed on Thursday.

China Stocks Slip on Sino-U.S. Tensions after Trump Administration Bars Flying to US

China stocks pared early gains Thursday due to concerns over rising Sino-U.S. tensions after the Trump administration barred Chinese passenger carriers to fly to the United States, Reuters reported.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration on Wednesday barred Chinese passenger carriers from flying to the U.S. starting on June 16, while the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) allowed more qualifying foreign carriers to fly into the mainland on Thursday.

The U.S. is also expected to designate at least four additional state-run Chinese media outlets as foreign embassies, increasing restrictions on their operations on American soil, Reuters reported.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

This article was originally posted on FX Empire

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