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Most Asian Markets Closed Slightly Down Friday

Currency trader watch monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, April 3, 2020.

Most Asian markets closed slightly down on Friday’s trading session, while Nikkei 225 in Japan closed just 0.01 percent in green.

As investors continue to be worried by the coronavirus pandemic that has affected the entire world economy, the skepticism about a statement by U.S. President Donald Trump that Saudi Arabia and Russia could slash oil production seemed to have contributed to the uncertainty.

In Europe, major indexes in London, Frankfurt and Paris were also down slightly in early trading, as global coronavirus cases exceed 1 million.

Although the U.S. markets closed higher Thursday, as a record jump in the price of a barrel of oil offset bad unemployment news, futures Friday were in the negative, suggesting a weaker session on U.S. markets.

U.S. crude oil had risen 24 percent Thursday after Trump said he spoke to the Russian and Saudi leaders about production cuts. However, crude futures fell Friday.

But the Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin has not yet spoken to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and that no agreement on production cuts has been reached.

A price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, coupled with less demand for oil because of coronavirus travel restrictions, have pushed down the price of oil to about $20 a barrel.

Also Thursday, a record 6 million people applied for unemployment benefits in the U.S. last week. The coronavirus pandemic has shuttered businesses across the globe and brought the U.S. economy to a near halt.

Stock prices are off about 20 percent from the record high set earlier this year.