Asian Shares Fall as Recent US Services Data Fuels Bets Fed Will Keep Hiking Rates

Asia-Pacific shares slid mostly on Tuesday as Wall Street sold off overnight on expectations that the Fed will continue to raise interest rates in response to unexpectedly strong US services data.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong declined 0.71% as of 9.13 a.m. (Thai time). In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.23%. The broad losses come despite Beijing’s announcement that it will remove Covid testing requirements for most public places in what is viewed as an accelerated exit from the Covid zero policy.

As part of the nation’s mourning for former President Jiang Zemin, China markets will suspend trade for three minutes, and HKEX will not broadcast data on its exterior screens beginning at 10 a.m. local time until the completion of the moment of silence.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.23%. South Korea’s Kospi dropped around 0.24% 

The Nikkei 225 in Japan, meanwhile, gained fractionally.

The services sector in the United States surprisingly picked up in November, with employment returning, providing fresh evidence of underlying momentum in the economy as it heads for a recession next year.

Strong data increases the risk that the Federal Reserve will continue hiking interest rates and raise its policy rate above 4.6%, where it may stay for some time.