Asian Shares Fall, Oil Drops Ahead of Expected Fed Rate Hike

Wednesday saw a continuation of the downward trend in Asian markets and oil prices at their eight-month low as investors followed Wall Street’s negative lead in the run-up to an expected rate hike from the Federal Reserve.

As of 9.31 a.m. Thai time, the Nikkei 225 in Japan dropped 1.27%. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 slipped 1.35%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.25%, while in mainland China, the Shanghai Composite lost 0.37%.

South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.92%.

Overnight in the U.S., Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 313.45 points, or 1.01%, to finish at 30,706.23. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite fell sharply, with the former falling 1.13% to 3,855.93 and the latter falling 0.95% to 11,425.05. The US dollar index rose above the 110 mark.

After a volatile session on Tuesday, West Texas Intermediate ended the day over 2% lower at below $84 a barrel. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is anticipated to announce updated economic estimates and raise interest rates by 75 basis points, putting figures to the “pain” it has been warning about.

As fears of a worldwide economic slowdown weigh on the outlook for energy consumption, crude is headed for its first quarterly decline in more than two years. After the Federal Reserve’s decision, other central banks throughout Europe and Asia are likely to follow and raise interest rates on loans to businesses and consumers.