Australia shares set to open lower as virus death toll spikes, China-U.S. tensions flare

    July 27 (Reuters) - Australian shares were set to open lower
on Monday after the country saw a worrying spurt in its
coronavirus death tally over the weekend, with rising
Chinese-U.S. diplomatic tensions deepening the gloom.
    Beijing ordered the United States to shut its consulate in
Chengdu on Friday in response to Washington's directive to close
China's Houston consulate as relations between the two economic
heavyweights took a turn for the worse.             
    The local share price index futures          fell 0.45%, a
52-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index        
close. The benchmark fell 1.16% on Friday.
    New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index         fell 0.4%
by 2211 GMT.

 (Reporting by Arpit Nayak; Editing by Peter Cooney)