After a dramatic loss on Wall Street overnight, Asian markets sank sharply on Friday as investors awaited the U.S. non-farm payrolls report for February, which will guide the future direction of Federal Reserve rate hikes.
As of 9.31 A.M. (Thai time), the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong fell 2.58%, leading losses in the region.
The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.93% in mainland China on reports that Xi Jinping would become the first Chinese leader to legitimately secure a third term as president.
The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia lost 1.77%, tracking the selloff on Wall Street, where banking stocks led the way lower due to contagion concerns about Silicon Valley Bank.
The Kospi in South Korea dropped 1.14%.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 slid 1.11% after parliament confirmed Kazuo Ueda as the central bank’s next governor, Kyodo reported. Current governor Haruhiko Kuroda is holding his final policy meeting before his term ends on April 8.
According to a Reuters survey, the majority of people expect the Bank of Japan to maintain its current ultra-dovish monetary policy and keep interest rates at -0.1%.
As investors prepared for a crucial payroll report on Friday that might affect the trajectory of interest rates, stocks plunged overnight in the United States, with the S&P 500 finishing 1.8% lower and the Dow Jones Industrial Average shedding more than 500 points.