Bank of Korea Hikes, Asia Mixed

Asia-Pacific stocks struggled for direction on Thursday after U.S. Federal Reserve meeting minutes showed officials stressing the need to raise interest rates swiftly and potentially more than markets anticipated.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 lost 72.96 points, or 0.3%, to 26,604.86.

The Japanese yen traded at 126.90 per U.S. dollar, weaker as compared with levels below 126.9 seen against the greenback earlier this week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index sank 55.07 points, or 0.3%, to 20,116.20.

The Bank of Korea announced Thursday a 25-basis-point increase in its Base Rate to 1.75%, the central bank’s second straight rate hike.

The Korean won changed hands at 1,266.51 following the announcement, stronger than levels above 1,274 seen against the greenback seen last week.

The Australian dollar was at $0.7085 after touching an earlier high of $0.7109.

In other markets

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 inched up 9.86 points, or 0.3%, to 3,993.04.

In Taiwan, the Taiex dropped 135.2 points, or 0.8%, to 15,986.83

In Korea, the Kospi index handed back 4.77 points, or 0.2%, to 2,612.45.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index regained 29.6 points, or 0.9%, to 3,209.18

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 descended 70.53 points, or 0.6%, to 11,102.84.

In Australia, the ASX 200 fell 49.36 points, or 0.7%, to 7,105.88.