Asian Stocks Mostly Lower as Markets Bet Bank of Japan to Keep Rates Unchanged

Shares in the Asia-Pacific markers dropped on Friday as investors fretted over the Bank of Japan’s interest rate decision and a deluge of earnings reports from companies in the region.

As of 9.33 A.M. (Thai time), the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia was down 0.61%.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 0.44%. With reports of an intervention, the yen was trading higher than it had been the previous week at about the 146 level.

A Reuters poll shows that the vast majority of participants agree the Bank of Japan will maintain its current policy of extremely low interest rates.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong dipped 0.72%, while in mainland China, the Shanghai Composite was 0.58% lower.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Kospi was slightly higher. 

The European Central Bank raised interest rates once more on Thursday, but it claimed “substantial” progress had already been made in the fight against rising inflation.

A 75 basis point hike had put borrowing costs of the central bank for the 19 countries that use the euro to 1.50%, the highest level since 2009. 

The ECB’s less hawkish stance added to views that central banks will moderate their rate hike pace, especially after the Bank of Canada stunned the market with a smaller-than-expected rate hike on Wednesday.