Bank of Japan Stands Pat, Asia Tanks

Stocks in major Asia-Pacific markets mostly declined on Thursday as investors reacted to central bank developments.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 lost 156.16 points, or 0.7%, to 23,319.37.

The Japanese yen traded at 104.77 per U.S. dollar following its strengthening yesterday from levels above 105.2 against the greenback.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) kept monetary policy steady on Thursday. In its monetary policy statement, the BoJ said the Japanese economy has started to pick up but remained in “a severe situation” due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic at home and abroad.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng tumbled 384.78 points, or 1.6%, to 24,349.85.

Korean markets declined, as Sshares of LG Chem dropped 6.1%. The move came as the firm announced the splitting of its battery business. In a press release, LG Chem said a new corporation is expected to be “exclusively in charge of the battery business from December 1.”

Meanwhile, the Straits Times index in Singapore was lower in afternoon trade. Official data showed Thursday that August non-oil domestic exports rose 7.7% year-on-year. That was higher than expectations of a 3.7% increase for August.

Australian markets slid. The moves came as data showed seasonally adjusted employment in Australia increasing by 111,000 people between July and August — according to the country’s Bureau of Statistics. That compared against expectations of a 50,000 decline in an economist poll.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7296 after touching an earlier high of $0.7311.

Investor reaction was watched, as members of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policymaking committee indicated the overnight rate could stay close to zero for years to reach its 2% inflation target.

In other markets

The CSI 300 lost 24.65 points, or 0.5%, to 4,632.71.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index deleted 4.37 points, or 0.2%, to 2.500.78.

In Korea, the Kospi subtracted 29.75 points, or 1.2%, to 2,406.17.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index ditched 104.02 points, or 0.8%, to 12,872.74.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 removed 37.57 points, or 0.3%, to 11,777.13.

In Australia, the ASX 200 wilted 72.92 points, or 1.2%, to 5,883.22.