Asian Shares Fall Further as Fed’s Rate Hikes Back into Focus

Asia markets fell further on Thursday as the U.S. Federal Reserve’s July minutes highlighted inflation concerns, which could lead to more rate hikes.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong opened lower by more than 2%, the region’s worst performance, while the CSI 300 in mainland China was down by 0.47%.

Ahead of the release of Australia’s July unemployment rate, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.9%.

The Nikkei 225 lost 1.41% as Japan’s trade deficit widened in July.

The Kospi index in South Korea dropped 1.38%.

Overnight in the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.52% and the S&P 500 slid 0.76%, while the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped by 1.15%, marking the second straight day of losses for the three major indexes. 

The meeting summary noted that “with inflation still well above the Committee’s longer-run goal and the labor market remaining tight, most participants continued to see significant upside risks to inflation,” which could necessitate additional tightening of monetary policy.

Federal Funds rate is at its highest level in 22 years, standing at between 5.25% and 5.50%.