Asian Shares Follow Wall Street Lower On Rate Hike Worries

Asian stocks tumbled on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve warned that interest rates would stay higher for longer to combat stubborn inflation.

The Fed’s hawkish tone on inflation and interest rates indicated that the U.S. central bank might not cut interest rates next year by as much as was earlier thought.

Higher U.S. Treasury yields contributed to the dollar’s strength and kept gold prices under pressure in Asian trading.

Oil prices fell over 1 percent to extend overnight losses on worries that higher U.S. interest rates and a softening economy would limit energy demand.

Chinese stocks ended notably lower amid persisting concerns about the economy. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.8 percent to 3,084.70, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slumped 1.3 percent to 17,655.41.

Japanese stocks lost ground, with technology heavyweights such as Advantest and SoftBank Group pacing the declines. The Nikkei 225 Index dove 1.4 percent to 32,571.03, while the broader Topix Index ended down 0.9 percent at 2,383.41.

Electronics and energy giant Toshiba Corp. bucked the weak trend to end marginally higher after an announcement that a $14 billion tender offer from private equity firm Japan Industrial Partners (JIP) had ended in success, clearing the way for it to be delisted.

Banks also ended higher, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mizuho Financial Group gaining between 0.9 percent and 1.3 percent.

Seoul stocks suffered heavy losses, with tech, chemical and auto stocks among the worst hit. The Kospi plunged 1.8 percent to 2,514.97.

Australian markets declined as commodity prices fell on the hawkish Fed and stronger dollar. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index tumbled 1.4 percent to 7,065.20, while the broader All Ordinaries Index settled 1.3 percent lower at 7,266.60.

Transurban Group plummeted 3.7 percent after the competition watchdog blocked the company’s bid for a toll road in Melbourne.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index ended little changed at 11,318.74 after data showed the economy grew more than expected in the second quarter and dodged a technical recession.

Fonterra Co-Operative Group rallied 3.1 percent after its annual profit more than doubled. Shares of Fonterra Shareholder’s Fund jumped 4.5 percent.

U.S. stocks declined overnight after the Fed left interest rates unchanged, as widely expected but raised its forecast for rates at the end of next year, saying battle against inflation was far from over. The updated projections imply that rates will finish 2023 at 5.5-5.75 percent.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 1.5 percent to reach its lowest closing level in almost a month, while the S&P 500 shed 0.9 percent and the Dow eased 0.2 percent.

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