Asian markets mixed as traders weigh rates outlook


HONG KONG (AFP): Asian markets were mixed Thursday (March 30) following a recent run-up, with banking sector worries easing and traders weighing central banks' interest rate plans in the wake of the recent turmoil.

Investors have taken heart from reassurances by authorities around the world that the fallout from the collapse of US regional banks and the takeover of Credit Suisse was contained.

But the flare-up has also fanned speculation the Federal Reserve will have to end its inflation-fighting rate hike campaign sooner than expected in order to avoid further destabilising the finance industry.

That has even led to bets on officials cutting borrowing costs by the end of the year -- some forecasts put the rate at just above four per cent by 2024, compared with more than five prior to the recent upheaval.

That has focused eyes on the Fed's next policy meeting, with observers predicting that could mark the last increase, even though inflation is still much higher than its target.

"The Fed remains in a very difficult position," said Wolfe Research's Chris Senyek.

"With banks stabilising, inflation still way above target, the labour market still historically strong, and the Fed desperately needing to rebuild credibility, our sense is that the (policy board) will hike by 25 basis points on May 3."

There is a feeling the latest woes among banks, which have been blamed on recent sharp hikes in rates, will force them to tighten credit, reducing the need for the Fed to hike further.

SPI Asset Management's Stephen Innes said: "The good news for stocks is that growth concerns have moved into the driver's seat after the recent banking shock, where investors are now positioning for the Fed to cut and instead rely on credit tightening to tame inflation.

"Indeed, speculative money is now betting... (that) the disinflationary impulse from tighter credit will reduce the need for monetary policymakers to slow the economy through rate hikes, which could potentially even cause the Fed to cut."

All three main indexes on Wall Street rose at least one percent, but Asia struggled to build on that.

Hong Kong dipped, even though Alibaba extended its gains after surging 12 per cent on Wednesday on news it intends to split into six units.

On Thursday, it said it would consider giving up control of some of its main businesses. The announcement this week lifted China's tech sector on hopes a long-running crackdown was nearing its endgame.

Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore, Manila and Jakarta were also lower but Sydney, Seoul, Taipei and Wellington rose.

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!

Asian , equities , March 30

   

Next In Aseanplus News

Holes poked in Mt Fuji view barrier, Japanese town says
River rangers stem flow of plastic
Kim’s plans up in smoke
Indians demand more jobs at home
Shanghai lifts home-buying curbs to boost property sector
Flashy online stars get the boot
34 still in hospital a week after Singapore Airlines’ turbulence
Strengthening ties, emergency response on PMs’ agenda
Tropical storm leaves at least seven dead
Protesters rally as opposition pushes contentious reform Bill

Others Also Read