Asian shares waver, dollar dips ahead of Fed policy decision | Inquirer Business

Asian shares waver, dollar dips ahead of Fed policy decision

/ 10:06 AM November 02, 2022

SYDNEY – Asian shares wobbled in cautious trading on Wednesday while the dollar sagged slightly as investors braced for the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy outcome later in the global day with many looking for any signs of a slowdown in future rate hikes.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.2 percent lower in early trade, as a drop in Chinese bluechips and Hong Kong shares offset an uptick in South Korea and Australia.

Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.1 percent.


The world’s biggest central bank is due to release its policy statement at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) on Wednesday, with investors set to closely scrutinize the statement and comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell for any signal that policymakers are contemplating tempering the rate hikes.


Markets widely expect the Fed to raise its benchmark overnight interest rate by 75 basis points (bps) to a range of 3.75 percent to 4 percent, the fourth such increase in a row.

However, traders are split on the size of the hike in December, with futures market pricing in a 44.5 percent probability of a 50-bps increase, according to CME’s Fed tool.

“We suspect Chair Powell will try very hard to avoid saying anything that might be misconstrued as a signal that the inevitable step down in the size of tightening is a pivot toward the end of the tightening cycle,” said Kevin Cummins, chief U.S. economist at NatWest Markets.

“Given that the inflation-related data have yet to show any signs of any moderation, we lean a bit more toward officials holding off from signaling they are reducing the size of hikes just yet.”

Cummins expects the Fed to step down to a 50 basis point rate hike in December.

Overnight, a survey showed U.S. job openings unexpectedly rose in September, suggesting that demand for labor remains strong. That sparked a reversal in Treasury yields and lifted market bets on interest rates to above 5% next year.


U.S. stocks closed lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipping 0.24 percent, the S&P 500 shedding 0.41%and the Nasdaq Composite falling 0.89 percent.

In the currencies market, the dollar eased 0.6 percent against the Japanese yen to 147.32 yen in thin liquidity, moving further away from its recent high of 148.84 yen just two sessions ago. It held largely steady against other currencies.

The safe-haven greenback gave up some of the rapid gains this year in October on speculation the Fed might indicate a slowdown in its aggressive tightening campaign at its November policy meeting.

The dollar’s retreat in foreign exchange markets is temporary, according to a Reuters poll of currency strategists, who said the greenback still had enough strength left to reclaim or surpass its recent highs and resume its relentless rise.

“In the Fed’s view, putting the U.S. into a recession is still a lesser evil than not tackling entrenched price pressures,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone.

“My own view is the risks are skewed for a hawkish reaction – USD higher, but I will recognize the moves in rates suggests the market is largely positioned for this outcome.”

U.S. Treasury yields were largely steady on Wednesday after reversing much of the losses overnight on the unexpected strength in the jobs data.

The yield on benchmark 10-year notes eased 2 basis points to 4.0336 percent while the yield on two-year notes was little changed at 4.5364 percent.

In commodities, oil climbed after industry data showed a surprise drop in U.S. crude stockpiles, suggesting demand is holding up.

U.S. crude oil futures rose 0.5 percent to $88.93 per barrel, while Brent crude futures was up 0.4 percent at $94.98.

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Gold was slightly higher, with spot price trading at $1649.50 per ounce.

TAGS: Asian shares, global markets, monetary policy, U.S. Federal Reserve

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