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Asian Stocks Edge Down, BoJ  Kuroda Sticks To Well-Used Script

Asian Stocks Edge Down, BoJ Kuroda Sticks To Well-Used Script

2017-12-21 07:29:00
David Cottle, Analyst

Talking Points:

  • Asian stocks found the going tough Thursday
  • Having risen on hopes for tax reform, some indexes slipped back as it passed
  • The Bank of Japan kept all its monetary settings on hold, while Governor Kuroda said there was no need to alter the policy framework

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Most Asian markets slipped on Thursday as investors took some cash out despite the passage of long-awaited US tax legislation through Congress.

Stocks had tended to gain anytime it looked as though the bills were progressing, but Wall Street was quite subdued Wednesda. The Nikkei 225 closed down 0.1%, Australia’s ASX 200 shed 0.2%. However the day’s big loser was South Korea’s Kospi. It lost 1.67% with those stocks thought likely to be hit by rising tensions with China under special pressure.

The New Zealand Dollar was boosted by stronger-than-expected domestic growth data while the Japanese Yen was steady as the Bank of Japan left its monetary settings alone. Governor Kuroda delivered what’s become a pretty standard assessment. He was modestly upbeat about prospects for Japan and the broader global economy but said Japan needs to raise productivity to nail down long-term growth. He also said that the BoJ would adjust policy as needed to maintain momentum towards its 2% inflation target. The Japanese Consumer Price Index is rising far more sluggishly at present, gaining an annualized 0.2% in October. Kuroda also said the BoJ expected it to keep rising next year and that no adjustments were needed to the monetary policy framework. The Yen was not much moved by any of this.

Gold prices held near two-week highs, while crude oil prices were steady as investors eyed lower US stocks and rising output..Bitcoin prices managed modest gains through the session.

There’s plenty of economic life left in Thursday even as Asia Pacific markets wind down. Coming up are UK public borrowing data, Canadian consumer price numbers and the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s business outlook release. There’s also another look at official third-quarter US Gross Domestic Product, along with personal consumption data, jobless claims and the leading index. Also coming up is the election of a new regional government in Spain’s restive Catalonia region. A referendum in favour of independence was declared illegal by Madrid earlier this year.

--- 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.