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Asian stocks slide as US rate cut hopes fade, Dollar holds ground

Asia markets dampened by Powell's rate cut outlook
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December 05, 2023 (MLN): Asian stocks slipped to three-week lows on Tuesday while bonds and the dollar steadied as investors tempered expectations for cuts to U.S. interest rates and waited on U.S. jobs data, as Reuters reported.

The Australian dollar fell 0.5% after the central bank left interest rates on hold, as expected, and emphasized that the future direction rates would depend on data.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.9% in early trading. Japan's Nikkei was dragged 1% lower to a three-week trough, mostly thanks to falling chipmaking stocks.

Gold hung on above $2,000 after a wild session on Monday, when it hit a record high in Asia before recoiling sharply lower.

Treasuries had come under a little pressure overnight as traders calibrated pretty aggressive pricing for U.S. interest rate cuts. Two-year yields rose 9.1 basis points (bps) and were steady at 4.64% in Asia trade.

Having been encouraged by a benign inflation report three weeks ago, futures imply about 125 bps of cuts in 2024.

U.S. job openings data is due at 8: 30 pm PST, and broader hiring figures, which last month showed signs of a slowdown in the job market, will be published on Friday.

"While it's understandable the market has embraced the recent improvement in inflation and softer October labor market data, strong momentum in the economy remains," ANZ analysts said in a note to clients. "We therefore expect that the (Fed), while encouraged by recent inflation improvements, will continue to adopt a hawkish policy stance."

In Asian stock markets, Hong Kong shares led declines with the Hang Seng slumping to a fresh one-year low.

At 16,470, the index is trading below its pre-Asian financial crisis high and is down almost 17% in a year when global stocks are up 15%.

In currency markets, the dollar, which suffered its sharpest monthly decline for a year in November, rose slightly overnight.

The euro sat at $1.08 on Tuesday, just above support at its 200-day moving average. The Australian and New Zealand dollars retreated from multi-month highs on Monday.

They were last a little weaker, with the Aussie dropping 0.5% to $0.6583, where it was testing support at its 200-day moving average.

The Reserve Bank of Australia left interest rates on hold and said, as it had a month ago, that future rate settings would depend on data.

Falling coal and gas prices pushed Australia's current account into deficit in the September quarter, data on Tuesday showed. Core inflation in Tokyo slowed in November, leaving the yen steady at 147.22 per dollar.

In commodity trading, Brent crude futures traded broadly steady at $78.31 a barrel, having fallen overnight on doubts that producers will make further cuts to output.

Chicago wheat hit its highest level since late August after the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the largest one-off private sale to China in years.

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Posted on: 2023-12-05T09:59:53+05:00