Asian stocks follow Wall Street lower after US jobs data

09:45 AM Aug 31, 2022 | PTI |

Beijing: Asian stocks followed Wall Street lower on Wednesday after strong US jobs data fuelled expectations of further interest rate hikes and Chinese manufacturing activity weakened.


Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Sydney declined. Oil prices rose nearly USD 1 per barrel.

US government data on Tuesday that showed there were two jobs for every unemployed person in July appeared to support arguments the economy can tolerate more rate hikes to tame inflation that is running at multi-decade highs.

Some investors had hoped the Federal Reserve would back off due to indications economic activity is cooling.

The jobs data “supported the argument for the Fed to stick to an aggressive stance”, said Edward Moya of Oanda in a report.


The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.9 per cent to 3,197.15 after a monthly index of manufacturing showed activity contracted again in August.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.6 per cent to 28,039.91 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong tumbled 1.1 per cent to 19,731.49.

The Kospi in South Korea was unchanged at 2,451.14 while Sydney’s S and P-ASX 200 shed 0.2 per cent to 6,987.00.

New Zealand advanced while Singapore and Indonesia declined.

Investors worry rate hikes by the Fed and other central banks in Europe and Asia to extinguish an inflation surge might derail global economic growth.

Chair Jerome Powell indicated Friday the Fed will stick to its strategy of rate hikes. The Fed has raised rates four times this year. Two of those were by 0.75 percentage points, three times the usual margin.

Traders appear to expect a 0.75 percentage-point hike in September, a half-point in November and 0.25 points in December, according to Moya.

“If the labour market doesn’t break and the consumer remains resilient, Wall Street might start pricing in rate hikes for February and March,” Moya wrote.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S and P 500 index fell 1.1 per cent to 3,986.16. That brought its decline over the past five days to 5.5 per cent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1 per cent to 31,790.87. The Nasdaq composite lost 1.1 per cent to 11,883.14.

The US government reported there were were 11.2 million open jobs on the last day of July. That was up from 11 million in June, and June’s figure was also revised higher.

Tech stocks were among the biggest declines. Chipmaker Nvidia fell 2.1 per cent.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude gained 89 cents to USD 92.53 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The contract plunged USD 5.37 to USD 91.64 on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international trading, rose 93 cents to USD 98.77 per barrel in London.

The dollar edged down to 138.58 yen from Tuesday’s 138.67 yen. The euro gained to USD 1.0026 from USD 1.0021.


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