Asia Equities Trade in Mixed Session as Fed Minutes Signaled More Rate Hikes

On Thursday, Asian stocks were mixed as investors processed minutes from the Federal Reserve meeting, which revealed that members were still committed to raising interest rates to combat inflation.

As expected, the Bank of Korea kept its benchmark interest rate at 3.5%. This follows nearly a year of consecutive rate hikes. The Kospi in South Korea gained 1.10%.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia was down 0.31% as of 9.29 am (Thai time). The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong settled slightly lower.

The Shanghai Composite traded marginally down on the mainland as well.

The Japanese markets will be closed on Thursday to commemorate the Emperor’s birthday.

The consumer price indices for both Hong Kong and Singapore are due out soon, with Singapore’s CPI for January predicted to be 7.1%.

U.S. markets closed down last night, with the S&P 500 recording its fourth consecutive day of losses.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average likewise finished the day lower, while the Nasdaq Composite outperformed the market, closing 0.13% higher.

The labor market is still “extremely tight, leading to sustained upward pressures on wages and prices,” as the U.S. Federal Reserve noted, and inflation remained “far above” the central bank’s 2% target.

The minutes also stated that Fed officials “emphasized that much more evidence of improvement across a broader range of prices would be required to be convinced that inflation was on a sustained lower trend,” referring to the fact that inflation statistics received over the prior three months showed a welcome reduction in the monthly pace of price increases.