Finance

Asian stocks ease, cautious ahead of several central bank announcements Wednesday

Asian stocks ease, cautious ahead of several central bank announcements Wednesday”

European stocks rose while Asian shares slipped Wednesday as the Fed met to decide on whether to hike interest rates in view of improvements in the USA economy.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.45%, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.46%, as its gold sub-index went down 1.64% on expectations of a Fed rate hike dimming demand for the precious metal. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1 percent to 3,239.33. India's Sensex climbed 0.5 percent to 29,531.05 and benchmarks in New Zealand, Taiwan and Singapore also rose.

China's central bank raised short-term interest rates following the US rate increase. Analysts said a rate hike, only the Fed's third in a decade, is already priced into financial markets and investors will be looking to see what Fed chief Janet Yellen will be saying about the pace of future increases.

Shares in Asia fell early on Wednesday with a widely expected hike in USA interest rates later in the day weighing on sentiment. On the other hand, the Fed could raise interest rates from record lows at a pace faster than expected.

WALL STREET: U.S. stock markets were little changed on Monday as investors took a wait-and-see mode. The British government, meanwhile, has been cleared by parliament to formally begin the process of exiting the EU. South Korea's Kospi was up 0.4 percent to 2,159.03. The Netherlands has its own election this week, where politicians have also railed against the European Union and immigrants.

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In commodities, USA oil prices jumped in early trading after industry data showed a surprise drawdown in US crude stockpiles.

Exporters were dented on a stronger yen, with Toyota Motor Corp falling 0.7 percent, Honda Motor Co dropping 1.0 percent and Panasonic Corp shedding 0.5 percent.

The dollar edged up but was unable to hold above the 115 yen mark breached briefly last week, while the euro benefitted from speculation the European Central Bank could start tightening monetary policy as the region's economy shows signs of improvement.

Brent crude was up 0.1 percent at $51.79 a barrel.



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