Asian markets extend losses

20 March, 2018

Markets in Asia notched down on Tuesday, as investors remained on hold as the two-day Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting got closer.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 eased 0.91 percent, or 196.52 points, following a red close in Wall Street. Also weighing on Nippon stocks was a political scandal over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

In Seoul, the Kospi benchmark was down 0.21 percent, with heavyweight tech companies offering no support in the light of a weak close in America. Samsung lost 0.55 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 0.39 percent, while the Shanghai composite eased 0.12 percent and the Shenzhen composite was down by 0.39 percent.

On Monday, the Nasdaq Composite ended 1.84 percent lower, its worst day since February 8 as social network giant Facebook plunged 6.8 percent in the light of a scandal with data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, accused of accessing data of 50 mln users without their permission.

The next policy announcement on March 21 keeps investors in a moderate position. The US regulator is expected to raise rates in 25 basis points to a range between 1.50 and 1.75 percent.

According to Fed funds CME Group’s FedWatch program, market players are currently pricing in a nearly 90 percent chance of a rate adjustment next week. It would be the first hike of 2018.

Ahead in today’s session, trades will be looking ahead to the German producer price index for February at 07:00 GMT and ZEW current conditions and economic sentiment for March as of 10:00 GMT, with 13.1 and 28.1 points seen respectively.

Meanwhile, attention will also be directed to the United Kingdom and the latest consumer and producer price indexes for February as of 09:30 GMT.

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