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Asian Equities Fall After Fed Upgrades Forecast to Four Rate Hikes In 2018

Asian equities followed U.S. stocks lower in morning trade on Thursday

Investing.com – Asian equities followed U.S. stocks lower in morning trade on Thursday as the Federal Reserve raised rates and upgraded their forecasts to four rate hikes in 2018 after recent data showed unemployment rate fell while inflation rose.

The Fed raised its benchmark rate a quarter of a percentage point to a range of 1.75 percent to 2 percent, as expected.

Overnight, the S&P 500 lost 0.4% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.1%.

Looking ahead, markets focus now moved on to the European Central Bank’s policy meeting on Thursday, which looks set to begin the process to end the region’s quantitative-easing program. The central bank is not expected to make any changes with the rates. The Bank of Japan is also scheduled to report on Friday.

In Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component were both down 0.3% at 10:30PM ET (02:30AM ET), while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index also fell 0.6% amid concerns about U.S. threats to impose tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese goods.

U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with his top trade advisers later this week to discuss whether to activate tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese goods, a senior Trump administration official said.

Citing people familiar with the revisions, reports on Thursday suggested the list might be slightly smaller than the initial tariff list which targeting $50 billion of Chinese goods.

“China could be a little bit upset about trade because we are very strongly clamping down on trade,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei 225 traded 0.4% lower, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.1%.

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