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Asian shares mostly down on concerns China may resume strict COVID curbs

The dollar pulled back from strong overnight gains on Tuesday while oil took a pause from Monday's retreat.

November 22, 2022 / 09:45 AM IST

Asian shares were on the defensive on Tuesday as a COVID-19 resurgence in China increased concerns that Beijing may reimpose strict pandemic curbs and that further restrictions could cause supply chain disruptions.

The dollar pulled back from strong overnight gains on Tuesday while oil took a pause from Monday's retreat.

The broader Asia-Pacific index ex-Japan lost 0.25% in early trade, while China's benchmark dipped 0.13%. Hong Kong's benchmark index fell 1.31%.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei average opened up 0.78%, while Australian shares rose 0.55%.

"China's Covid situation is really in the front row for Asia trading," said Redmond Wong, market strategist for Greater China at Saxo Markets in Hong Kong.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Beijing warned on Monday that it was facing its most severe test of the pandemic, fuelling investor concerns that China may be forced to resume strict mobility curbs and give stay and home orders across cities.

Surging cases in manufacturing cities may cause supply chain disruptions, said Wong.

The dollar pared some of its strong overnight gains on Tuesday after investors flocked to the safe-haven currency on nerves over China's COVID flare ups, but analysts at the National Australia Bank questioned whether demand for the greenback was sustainable.

"Evidence U.S. inflation has peaked and can fall significantly in 2023, together with China and Europe developments, convince us a USD depreciation cycle is now in train," they said in a note on Tuesday.

U.S. Treasury yields across most maturities rose on Tuesday amid expectations of further Federal Reserve interest rate hikes. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield rose six basis points.

Oil prices rose slightly in early Asian trade, a day after Saudi Arabia denied a media report that it was discussing an increase in oil supply with OPEC and its allies.

U.S. crude rose 0.27% to $80.26 per barrel on Tuesday and Brent was at $87.79, up 0.19%.

Spot gold traded at $1,738.39 an ounce.
first published: Nov 22, 2022 09:45 am