Asia Stocks Mostly Fall as Investors Expect Central Bank Hikes

On Tuesday, Asian stocks generally traded down as investors digested a slew of economic data and anticipated a possible interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was down 0.13% as of 9.26 a.m. (Thai time). Mainland China’s Shanghai Composite dipped fractionally as the country’s official manufacturing PMI reported a reading of 50.1, above the 50-point mark separating growth from contraction.

While investors wait for December’s retail sales figures, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia rose by 0.10%. The December unemployment rate in Japan was 2.5%, which was in line with predictions, and this led to a 0.12% drop in the Nikkei 225.

The benchmark Kospi in South Korea dropped by 0.40% after the country reported a steeper-than-expected 7.3% annual loss in industrial output in December.

The International Monetary Fund has upgraded its forecast for global growth in 2023, but warns that inflation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine will likely dampen economic activity.

Major U.S. indices dropped overnight as investors prepared for the busiest week of earnings season and the Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, where a quarter-point rate hike is widely anticipated.