Asian stocks declined again overnight, making it 6 days on the spin an unexpected rate cut in South Korea and worse than expected Australian jobs news was enough to fuel a risk off trading session that sent investors selling stocks and investing in the Yen.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 1.87%, Australia’s S&P/ASX200 was down 0.51%, and Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index was down 1.40% as investors shrugged off the news that in the US, their trade deficit narrowed in May, falling 3.8% to $48.7bn in May, from $50.6bn in April, mainly due to cheaper oil lowering the value of imports. The release of the Federal Reserve meeting minutes showed that Federal Reserve officials are open to the possibility of a new round of asset purchases, though the US economy may need to get weaker before any further action is taken. Markets had been looking for hints that the Fed would take more aggressive actions to bolster the economy after poor jobs reports and other economic data have weakened the U.S. currency.
Asian markets were caught by surprise as the Bank of Korea unexpectedly cut borrowing costs for the first time in more than three years, lowering the interest rate by 0.25% to 3%, the first cut since February 2009. Also keeping Asian stocks down, and on their longest losing streak in two months was the news that Australian employers unexpectedly reduced payrolls in June as the jobless rate increased. The amount of people employed fell by 27,000, erasing a revised 27,800 job gain in May whilst the jobless rate increased for a second month running, to 5.2% from 5.1%.
The next 24 hours should remain a busy period for traders as investors should keep an eye on the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy statement due out later today Chinese GDP rates released later too. Look out also for ECB President Draghi speaking and initial jobless claims in the US for increased volatility in what should be a volatile market.
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