Asian stock markets have finished 2020 strong, leaving behind European and U.S. counterparts in the COVID-19 pandemic. Asian countries were more successful on the whole to reign in the spread of infections and to avoid prolonged shutdowns, but the fact that markets did not budge when the virus returned for second and third waves in South Korea and Japan did raise some eyebrows. In November, the election of Democrat Joe Biden as U.S. president gave stock markets in Asian countries another boost. Only the threat of another lockdown in Tokyo as infection numbers continue to rise put a damper on stock market performance on the first day of trading in the new year.
Hong Kong index the Hang Seng has been embattled since China’s announcement and subsequent enactment of national security law in early 2020, which drew massive protests. Due to a working COVID-19 containment strategy in Hong Kong, the index still finished the year on a higher note than France’s CAC 40 or the UK’s FTSE 100.