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Asian shares stumble on growth worries as central banks tighten -Breaking


© Reuters. A protective mask-wearing man walks by an electronic board showing graphs of the Nikkei index (top), outside a Tokyo brokerage, Japan. March 10, 2022. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

By Andrew Galbraith

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Asian share markets slipped on Thursday after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s early May meeting showed a majority backing half-percentage-point rate hikes in June and July, and as persistent concerns over global growth sapped confidence.

Although the minutes did highlight the faith of U.S. policymakers regarding the strength of their economy and helped to lift Wall Street’s mood overnight, sentiment remains fragile in equity markets after volatile trade for weeks. Global central banks are continuing to tighten.

The global economy does not face a slowdown. I believe we are slowing down. The potential for great investments at the moment is predominately on short sides,” Barbara Ann Bernard (CIO) of Wincrest Capital, a hedge fund that specializes in long and short equity strategies, said to the Reuters Global Markets Forum.

South Korea’s central banks raised interest rates on Thursday for the second time in succession as they struggle with rising consumer prices at 13-year highs.

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All participants at the Fed’s May 3-4 meeting supported a half-percentage-point rate increase – the first of that size in more than 20 years – and “most participants” judged that further hikes of that magnitude would “likely be appropriate” at the Fed’s policy meetings in June and July, according to minutes from the meeting

Minutes reflected consensus among policymakers about the strength and vulnerability of the U.S. Economy, tightness in the labour market, high inflation and global supply issues. The continued lockdowns of coronaviruses in China and the Ukraine war skewing inflationary risk “to the upside.”

MSCI’s Asia-Pacific broad index, which tracks shares from Asia-Pacific outside Japan, fell 0.45% due to investor worry. It traded higher at the beginning of the morning but was still lower.

Chinese blue-chips dropped 1.11% despite an additional drop in daily COVID-19 case numbers in China. Recent economic support measures have been threatened by lockdowns that are being implemented to curb the spread of this virus.

China’s Premier Li Keqiang stated Wednesday that China would strive for reasonable economic growth and to reduce rising unemployment.

Australian shares fell 0.47%, while the stock index lost 0.13% of its gains.

After the announcement of central bank rates, Seoul’s Kospi rose 0.25% to meet expectations.

These falls contrast starkly with optimism on Wall Street where the rose 0.6% and the gained 0.95% respectively. [.N]

Rick Meckler of Cherry Lane Investments, New Vernon, New Jersey, said that the market was looking for stability and looking forward to the moment when the Fed will issue new guidance. He stated, “I believe the Fed is starting to see the economy slow enough that they don’t need to keep raising rates.”

In Asia trade, dollar was not affected by Wednesday’s Fed minutes rise. At 127.27 it was unchanged, with the dollar only marginally changing against the yen. However, the euro gained 0.1% to 1.06922%.

Only 0.03% was lower in the, which compares the greenback to a basket with major peers at 102.02.

U.S. Treasury yields also remained muted. From a close at 2.747%, the 10-year yield edged higher to 2.7577%. The policy-sensitive yield of 2.506% was also flat.

After a slow rally, crude oil held steady at $114.03/barrel and was up 0.3% at $110.47.

It was 0.2% lower at $1,849.19 an ounce. [GOL/]