HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian bourses mostly slipped Tuesday before the US Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting, and as lingering concerns over Chinese and US economic data weighed on global markets.
US stocks finished mixed Monday, with investors cautious ahead of the Fed’s two-day monetary policy meeting that starts later Tuesday.
The US central bank might adjust its timing for raising benchmark interest rates, as critics say its nearly six-year-old zero rate policy is feeding asset bubbles and possibly inflation.
The Fed has previously said it would keep interest rates low for a “considerable time” after ending its massive stimulus programme, based on continued weakness in the labour market.
A rate increase could hurt Asian markets by making them vulnerable to a selloff, as the incentive for investors to seek higher yields in regional markets is reduced.
Tokyo fell 0.23 per cent, or 36.76 points, to 15,911.53 and Sydney lost 0.51 per cent, or 28.1 points, to end at 5,445.5.
Shanghai sank 1.82 per cent, or 42.59 points, to 2,296.55 and Hong Kong, which opened only for the afternoon session due to a typhoon, fell 0.91 per cent or 220.98 points to end at 24,136.01.
However, Seoul ended up 0.35 per cent, or 7.10 points, at 2,042.92.
Official US data released Monday showed industrial production unexpectedly fell in August by 0.1 per cent after six months of gains, while manufacturing output fell 0.4 per cent.
The data added to worries after China reported over the weekend that industrial production stuttered in August, with growth dropping sharply to 6.9 per cent, the slowest pace in more than five years.
The dollar was at 107.05 yen in Asian trade compared with 107.18 yen in New York Monday afternoon.
The euro bought $1.2943 and 138.60 yen against $1.2940 and 138.69 yen in US trade.
The pound dipped to $1.6181 from $1.6234 in New York as investors keep a nervous eye on Thursday’s Scottish independence vote, which could lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom and hammer its economy.
US stocks finished mixed Monday as the tech-rich Nasdaq dropped 1.07 per cent following a cautious report on Tesla Motors.
The Dow rose 0.26 per cent and the S&P 500 dipped 0.07 per cent.
The Hong Kong stock exchange cancelled its morning trading session as a powerful typhoon swept past the city.
Authorities raised the number-eight typhoon warning – the third in a five-tier system – which shutters schools and businesses, but lowered it around 0300 GMT, allowing the bourse to reopen in the afternoon.
Oil prices were mixed. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery was down 29 cents at $92.63, while Brent crude for November eased 22 cents to $97.66 in afternoon trade. Brent’s October contract expired Monday at $96.65, its lowest level since June 2012.
Gold was at $1,236.91 an ounce, against $1,234.92 an ounce late Monday.