Asia Mostly Falls Following Fed Remarks

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mostly lower on Friday as investors watched for market reaction to comments from the Chinese central bank governor Yi Gang as well as overnight remarks from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 447.8 points, or 1.6%, to 27,105.26, as shares of conglomerate SoftBank Group dropped 3%.

The Japanese yen traded at 128.06 per dollar, still weaker as compared with levels below 126 seen last week against the greenback.

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong retreated 43.7 points, or 0.2%, to 20,638.52, as shares of Chinese tech giants Tencent dropped 2.1%, and Alibaba surrendered 1.4%.

The Australian dollar was at $0.731 after a recent drop from above $0.744.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 rebounded 17.42 points, or 0.4%, to 4,013.25.

China’s central bank will maintain prudent monetary policy and increase support for the economy, Governor Yi Gang said Friday as part of the annual Boao Forum for Asia. Yi said the priority for China’s monetary policy is ensuring stable prices, especially in food and energy.

Yi’s comments come as investors have been watching for signs of policy support from Chinese authorities. China’s markets have struggled for gains most of this week as investors worry about a range of concerns from the country’s economic outlook to an ongoing Covid outbreak on the mainland.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index edged ahead 12.65 points, or 0.4%, to 3,361.11

In Korea, the Kospi index slid 23.5 points, or 0.9%, to 2,704.71.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index retreated 102.86 points, or 0.6%, to 17,025.09.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 declined 45.6 points, or 0.4%, to 11,908.40.

In Australia, the ASX 200 faltered 119.51 points, or 1.6%, to 7,473.28.