Asia stocks follow Wall St down as Fed fights inflation

Sep 21, 2022, 12:23 AM | Updated: 10:27 pm
A currency trader talks on the phone at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank head...

A currency trader talks on the phone at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. Asian stock markets followed Wall Street lower on Thursday after the Federal Reserve delivered another big interest rate hike to cool galloping inflation and raised its outlook for more. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets followed Wall Street lower on Thursday after the Federal Reserve delivered another big interest rate hike to cool galloping inflation and raised its outlook for more.

Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney declined. Oil prices gained.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index fell 1.7% on Wednesday to its lowest level in two months after the Fed raised its benchmark lending rate by 0.75 percentage points, three times its usual margin. The Fed said it expects that rate to be a full percentage point higher by the end of the year than it did three months ago.

“The Fed still managed to out-hawk the markets,” Anna Stupnytska of Fidelity International said in a report. “Economic strength and a hot labor market point to a limited trade-off — at least for the time being — between growth and inflation.”

The Shanghai Composite Index lost less than 0.1% to 3,115.94 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo slid 0.9% to 27,060.89. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tumbled 1.9% to 18,094.62.

The Kospi in Seoul sank 1.4% to 2,315.24. New Zealand edged up 0.1% while Southeast Asian markets declined.

The Fed and central banks in Europe and Asia have raised interest rates this year to slow economic growth and cool inflation that is at multi-decade highs.

Traders worry they might derail global economic growth. Fed officials acknowledge the possibility such aggressive rate hikes might bring on a recession but say inflation must be brought under control. They point to a relatively strong U.S. job market as evidence the economy can tolerate higher borrowing costs.

The yield on the 2-year Treasury, or the difference between the market price and the payout if held to maturity, rose to 4.02% from 3.97% late Tuesday. It was trading at its highest level since 2007.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences mortgage rates, fell to 3.52% from 3.56% from late Tuesday.

The S&P 500 fell to 3,789.93. The Dow fell 1.7% to 30,183.78, and the Nasdaq composite lost 1.8% to 11,220.19.

The major Wall Street indexes are on pace for their fifth weekly loss in six weeks.

Fed chair Jerome Powell stressed his resolve to lift rates high enough to slow the economy and drive inflation back toward the central bank’s 2% goal. Powell said the Fed has just started to get to that level with this most recent increase.

The central bank’s latest rate hike lifted its benchmark rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, to a range of 3% to 3.25%, the highest level in 14 years, and up from zero at the start of the year.

The Fed said its benchmark rate may be raised to roughly 4.4% by year’s end, a full point higher than envisioned in June.

U.S. consumer prices rose 8.3% in August. That was down from July’s 9.1% peak, but core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices to give a clearer picture of the trend, rose to 0.6% over the previous month, up from July’s 0.3% increase.

Central bankers in Japan, Britain, Switzerland and Norway are due to report on whether they also will raise rates again. Sweden surprised economists this week with a full-point hike.

The global economy also has been roiled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which pushed up prices of oil, wheat and other commodities.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude gained 19 cents to $83.13 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1 to $82.94 on Wednesday. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, advanced 26 cents to $90.09 in London. It lost 79 cents the previous session to $89.83.

The dollar gained to 144.50 yen from Wednesday’s 143.46 yen. The euro fell to 98.15 cents from 99.09 cents.

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AP

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Asia stocks follow Wall St down as Fed fights inflation