Asian markets fall as Fed stays still, coronavirus keeps spreading

Asian markets fell in early trading Thursday, after the U.S. Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged, and as investors weighed developments in the spreading coronavirus outbreak.

Fed chief Jerome Powell said Wednesday that the U.S. economy is in good shape, in announcing that the central bank left unchanged a key interest rate that influences borrowing costs. But he also said the Fed is closely monitoring the severity of the deadly coronavirus and the potential for the illness to disrupt the global economy.

Chinese authorities on Thursday said more than 7,700 people have fallen victim to the virus, with at least 170 dead. World Health Organization officials expressed “great concern” of the virus’ spread outside of China. A U.N. panel is expected to meet Thursday to weigh if the outbreak should be declared a global emergency, the Associated Press reported.

Japan’s Nikkei

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