Asian Stocks Hammered Once More, Nikkei Sheds Another Thousand
- Asian stocks slipped across the board
- The bellwether Nikkei 225 ended well off its lows but still down by more than 1,000 points
- The US Dollar and the Japanese Yen were firm
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Global equities' agony took another pass through the Asia Pacific region Tuesday with more huge falls seen across the region.
Worries about stock valuations, inflation and rising US interest rates seem to have been behind the rout, which has come despite a relatively strong global economy and apparently valid hopes for more strength ahead. Still, for now the mood is firmly ‘risk off’with the Nikkei 225 getting the worst of things in Asia. It shed 4.73% by the close- a huge fall but some losses had been pared by the end. At one point it was down more than 1,500 points, only to close off by 1,071. Australia’s ASX 200 shed 3.1% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down by 4.1% as its close loomed.
The US Dollar and Japanese Yen saw the best of what was perhaps an inevitable haven bid in the currency markets. The Australian Dollar edged lower through a session which saw the Reserve Bank of Australia leave interest rates alone and evince no hurry to raise them. Other Australian economic data were mixed with trade numbers suggesting robust domestic demand even as retail sales figures pointed to weakness.
The greenback has gained about 1% against its most widely traded peers since this latest bout of equity indigestion began last week. Gold prices rose as haven-asset demand went beyond foreign exchange while crude oil prices slipped. Cryptocurrencies were in the eye of the storm with Bitcoin falling to its lowest point since mid-November.
Coming up in the remainder of global Tuesday are German factory orders, its construction and retail Purchasing Managers Indexes and US trade balance data for December. Staying with the US, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey is approaching too. Central-banking aficionados will await a speech on the US economy and monetary policy from St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard.
DailyFX Senior Currency Strategist Ilya Spivak thinks that equity’s meltdown could be headed off if Mr. Bullard floats the possibility that US interest rate hikes could be delayed.
--- 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.