Fears over the economy and a rate hike sent Asian stocks plummeting

Fears over the economy and a rate hike sent Asian stocks plummeting

The Federal Reserve is trying to cool inflation that is running at a four-decade high, but investors worry that might trigger a US downturn. That adds to pressure from Russia’s war on Ukraine and a Chinese slowdown. Traders are pricing in the “impending deterioration of economic conditions,” said Yeap Jun Rong of IG in a report.

On Tuesday, Asian equities fell in lockstep with Wall Street, as concerns grew that US rate hikes to combat inflation would stifle economic development. Tokyo, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Australia all saw their stock market benchmarks fall. Shanghai has progressed. Oil prices dropped more than a dollar but remained above $100 per barrel. On Monday, Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index fell 3.2 percent, marking its lowest level in more than a year.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 0.8 percent to 26,117.76 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 2.8 percent to 19,436.73. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 percent to 3,009.22 after the Chinese government announced rent cuts and other aid for small businesses in a new effort to boost anemic economic growth. The Kospi in Seoul shed 0.7 percent to 3,593.12 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 declined 1.2 percent to 7,034.90.

India’s Sensex opened up 0.1 percent at 54,537.35. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets retreated. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 sank to 3,991.24. That leaves Wall Street’s benchmark down 16.8 percent from its January 3 record. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2 percent to 32,245.70. The Nasdaq composite slid 4.3 percent to 11,623.25 as tech stocks to the brunt of the selling.

Energy stocks also fell. Marathon Oil and APA Corp. each sank more than 14 percent. Stocks have declined as the Fed turns away from a strategy of pumping money into the financial system, which boosted prices. The US central bank has raised its key rate from close to zero, where it sat for much of the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, it indicated it will double the size of future increases from its usual margin.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude sank from USD 1.15 to USD 101.94 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged from USD 6.68 to USD 103.09 on Monday. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, lost USD 1.20 to USD 104.74 per barrel in London. It fell from USD 6.45 the previous session to USD 105.94. The dollar gained to 130.43 yen from Monday’s 130.32 yen. The euro rose to USD 1.0576 from USD 1.0566.

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