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Asian Markets Steady As Investors Look To Fed, Nikkei Surges

Asian Markets Steady As Investors Look To Fed, Nikkei Surges

David Cottle, Analyst

Talking Points:

  • Asian Stocks were mostly lower, but only by a whisker
  • A lack of local news left markets focused on the Fed
  • The US Dollar was perkier as bond yields rose

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Asian stocks were mostly slightly lower Tuesday as investors looked ahead to the US Federal Reserve’s September monetary policy meeting.

The Fed’s decision won’t be released until Thursday morning local time and the central bank is not expected to alter interest rate levels, but investors are on watch for news as to how its crisis-swollen, $4.5 trillion balance sheet will be unwound.

Markets are typically torpid in the runup to these decisions and Tuesday's action or lack thereof fitted that bill. On a day of scant local economic news the ASX, Hang Seng and Kospi were essentially flat with all of them technically in the red by less than 0.1%. The Nikkei 225 was a standout performer, rising nearly 2% as Tokyo markets returned from Monday’s holiday.

The US Dollar held steady near 8-week highs against the Japanese Yen, suggesting that investors are looking for a more 'hawkish' Fed outcome, which, given the uncertainties created by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, may now be a stretch. US Treasury yields were also higher. The Australian Dollar got a very short-lived boost from Reserve Bank of Australia monetary policy meeting minutes which offered little novelty.

Gold prices inched up from two-week lows. Meanwhile crude oil prices were steady, reportedly as worries about lower Saudi output were offset by prognoses of higher US shale production.

The remainder of the session offers few economic pointers. Germany’s ZEW economic sentiment survey is coming up as are US housing start and building permit numbers along with import and export price data.

--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

Contact and follow David on Twitter:@DavidCottleFX

DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.