Investing.com – Asian equities traded lower on Thursday as markets priced in the possibility of a tighter Fed over time, following the release of the latest Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes that increased the risk of faster rate hike.
The Federal Reserve’s latest comment solidified expectations of interest rate hike ahead, as it showed increasing confidence that economic growth would pick up steam despite of concerns around inflation. Fed policy makers would next meet on 20 March.
Mainland Chinese markets were in focus today as they resumed trading after a week-long Lunar New Year holiday and were the only markets trading in the green in Asia Thursday morning. The Shanghai Composite gained 1.43% while the Shenzhen Component also jumped 1.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.2%.
Japan’s Nikkei and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 retreated following the U.S. stocks’ negative reaction to the Fed minutes. The yen gained some strength against the USD, with USD/JPY down 0.53% to 107.19. BHP Billiton rebounded more than 1% after losing almost 5% yesterday following a disappointing earnings report.
Elsewhere, the KOSPI was down 0.42% while the won also lost ground, quoted at 1,082 per dollar. Lotte Corp continued to receive some attention as the company said cooperation between Japanese and South Korean Lotte units would “inevitably” weaken following the sentencing of Shin Dong-bin.