Asia Slips Ahead of U.S. Fed Decision

Stocks in Asia fell on Wednesday ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision, set to be announced later stateside.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index faded 131.01 points, or 0.6%, to 22,843.12.

An earlier data release on Wednesday showed Japanese retail sales in September surged 9.1% as compared to a year earlier, above expectations of a 6.9% increase from a poll. The jump in retail sales came ahead of a tax hike that went into effect on October 1.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.83 against the U.S. dollar after strengthening from levels above 108.9 yesterday.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index dumped 119.05 points, or 0.4%, to 26,667.71. Hong Kong-listed shares of Standard Chartered, however, jumped more than 2% after the British lender announced its third quarter pre-tax profits soared 16% year-on-year.

Korean markets moved downward, as shares of Samsung Electronics fell 1.4% ahead of the industry heavyweight’s earnings release.

Australian markets declined on the day. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed Wednesday that the consumer price index for the September quarter rose 0.5%, as compared to a 0.6% increase in the previous quarter.

The Australian dollar was at $0.6872 seeing an earlier low of $0.6846.

The Fed is largely expected to slash interest rates by 25 basis points later this week. That would mark its third rate cut for this year.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 subtracted 19 points, or 0.5%, to 3,891.23

Developments on the U.S.-China trade front will also be monitored. Media reports circulated Tuesday that the phase one trade deal may not be signed at a November summit in Chile.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex took on 46.41 points, or 0.4%, to 11,380.28

In Korea, the Kospi deleted 12.42 points, or 0.6%, to 2,080.27

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index gained 10.88 points, or 0.3%, to 3,207.92

In Australia, the ASX 200 faded 55.93 points, or 0.8%, to 6,689.48

In New Zealand, the NZX added 4.21 points to 10,789.54