SINGAPORE — Oil prices dropped and the safe-haven yen strengthened in the afternoon of Asian trading hours on Friday after U.S. President Donald Trump announced he tested positive for the coronavirus.

International benchmark Brent crude futures were down 2.42% to $39.94 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also shed 2.43% to $37.78 per barrel. That followed a sizable decline on Thursday of nearly 4%.

Shares of oil companies regionally also fell in Friday trade. In Australia, shares of Beach Energy dropped 6.37% while Santos declined 5.47%. Over in Japan, Inpex slipped 3.07%.

Japanese yen strengthens

The Japanese yen — often seen as a safe-haven currency — strengthened following Trump’s announcement, last changing hands at 105.17 per dollar after an earlier low of 105.66 against the greenback.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 93.733 after touching an earlier high of 94.031.

The Australian dollar slipped to $0.716, following an earlier high of $0.7189.

Asia-Pacific markets decline


.N225 Nikkei 225 Index NIKKEI 23304.64 274.74 1.19
.HSI Hang Seng Index HSI 23801.97 342.92 1.46
.AXJO S&P/ASX 200 ASX 200 5929.30 137.80 2.38
.SSEC Shanghai SHANGHAI 3218.05 -6.31 -0.20
.KS11 KOSPI Index KOSPI 2353.03 25.14 1.08
.FTFCNBCA CNBC 100 ASIA IDX CNBC 100 9144.36 109.63 1.21


In Australia,  the S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.39% to close at 5,791.50. Australia’s retail sales data for August fell 4% on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to data from the country’s Bureau of Statistics. That followed a rise of 3.2% in July.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.67% on the day to 23,029.90 while the Topix index slipped 1% to close at 1,609.22. The Tokyo Stock Exchange returned to trade on Friday following a halting of trade yesterday caused by a hardware glitch.

Singapore’s Straits Times index was about 0.2% lower, as of around 3:19 p.m. HK/SIN.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index dipped 0.23%.

Markets in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and India were closed on Friday for holidays.