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02/05/24 | 9:55 am

Asia stocks wobble on rate cut delays; yen leaps

Asian stocks got off to a shaky start on Thursday (May 2) after the Federal Reserve flagged delays to interest rate cuts, while the dollar fell heavily on the yen in what traders reckoned was Japanese intervention.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei average opened down 0.71% at 38,004.01 on Thursday while Hong Kong shares barely moved at the open with benchmark the Hang Seng Index inched down just over 2 points to 17,760.

In South Korea the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) opened down 0.22 percent to 2,686.25 points.

An associate professor of finance at Australia’s RMIT University, Dr. Angel Zhong, said the Fed’s decision to keep interest rates unchanged “reflects the acknowledgement of the stalled progress in bringing down inflation to the desired two percent growth”.

The dollar’s value fell by almost five yen in 40 minutes of late New York trade to touch 153 yen. It was last at 155.63 yen, having traded around 157.5 before the sudden dive.

The move follows sharp yen gains on Monday (April 28) which Japanese money market data suggested may have been intervention to the tune of some $35 billion in dollar selling.

Much of Asia is returning from a holiday that had closed markets on Wednesday (May 1), though Chinese bond, currency and stock markets remain shut through the rest of the week.

(Reuters)

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Last Updated: 25th May 2024