BANGKOK (AP) – Asian shares slipped yesterday, with Chinese markets logging moderate losses after re-opening from a weeklong holiday to news of a fresh set of lockdowns due to rising COVID-19 cases.
The declines followed yet another dismal end to the week on Wall Street as a strong United States (US) jobs report added to worries the Federal Reserve (Fed) might consider the higher-than-expected hiring data as proof the economy hasn’t slowed enough to get inflation under control.
That might mean still more hefty rate hikes that could make a recession more likely.
A US consumer prices report last Thursday will be one of the biggest factors for markets this week. Investors also are awaiting the latest updates on how companies are dealing with higher prices and interest rate hikes.
Markets were closed yesterday in Tokyo, Taiwan and South Korea. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 2.8 per cent to 17,249.33 while the Shanghai Composite index shed 1.7 per cent to 2,974.15.
Bangkok’s SET lost one per cent and India’s Sensex gave up 0.2 per cent.
Chinese cities were imposing more lockdowns and travel restrictions after the number of new daily COVID-19 cases tripled during a weeklong holiday.
The dollar was trading at JPY145.25 from JPY145.34 late Friday, adding to pressure on Japan’s central bank to counter the yen’s prolonged slide by adjusting its policy of keeping its benchmark interest rate below zero to fend off deflation.
Prices have been rising in Japan, pushed higher mainly by global inflation and surging costs for oil and gas, but the Bank of Japan has stuck to its ultra-loose monetary policy while the Fed has pressed ahead with sharp rate hikes.
The higher expected returns have pushed the dollar higher against the yen.
US futures were lower. On Friday, the S&P 500 fell 2.8 per cent, ending with a 1.5 per cent gain for the week, its first weekly gain in four weeks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average skidded 2.1 per cent , while the Nasdaq tumbled 3.8 per cent.
The Russell 2000 index fell 2.9 per cent, to 1,702.15.