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Asian Stocks Fall After Powell Hints Future Rate Cut is Not Guaranteed

Investing.com - Asian Markets fell in morning trade on Thursday amid unease about future U.S. rate cuts.

China's Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component were down 0.8% and 0.7% respectively by 10:50 PM ET (02:50 GMT). Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 0.6%.

U.S. officials including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer concluded talks with their Chinese counterparts including Vice Premier Liu He on Wednesday in China.

According to a White House statement, the two sides had "constructive" discussions this week over "forced technology transfer, intellectual-property rights, services, non-tariff barriers, and agriculture."

"The Chinese side confirmed their commitment to increase purchases of United States agricultural exports," the statement said. The next round of talks will be held in Washington in September.

Japan's Nikkei 225 was little changed after data showed the country's manufacturing activities contracted for a third straight month. The July final Jibun Bank Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index was at a seasonally adjusted 49.4 compared to 49.3 in June.

South Korea's KOSPI inched down 0.1%. The country's export shrank 11.0% in July from a year earlier. Imports fell 2.7%.

Down under, Australia's ASX 200 slipped 0.2%.

Overnight, the U.S. Federal Reserve cut funds rate by a quarter point as expected.

However, markets fell after Powell said the rate cut is a "midcycle adjustment" and that policymakers might not follow up with an aggressive rate cut regime.

"We're thinking of it as essentially in the nature of a mid-cycle adjustment to policy," he said. His remarks came after recent data showed the U.S. economy is stronger than previously expected.

"There is really no reason why the expansion can't keep going," Powell said.

Traders took his comments to be less dovish than anticipated, while U.S. President Donald Trump also said "as usual, Powell let us down."

"What the Market wanted to hear from Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve was that this was the beginning of a lengthy and aggressive rate-cutting cycle," he said.

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