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Asia Sharply Lower on More U.S. Rate Hikes

Jun 14, 2018 (Baystreet.ca via COMTEX) --

Major Asian markets closed sharply lower on Thursday after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates, a widely expected move, and indicated two more rate hikes were likely in 2018.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 tumbled 227.77 points, or 1%, to 22,738.61. Declines were broad-based, with mining stocks falling 1.79% and consumer names also sliding. Banks and shippers, however, clung to gains.

Against the yen, the U.S. Dollar softened to trade at 109.96, compared to its previous close above the 110.30 level.

Markets will next focus on the European Central Bank, which could yield hints on the winding down of its quantitative easing program at the end of its meeting later in the day. The Bank of Japan's policy meeting, meanwhile, will end on Friday.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index dropped 284.98 points, or 0.9%, to 30.440.17, with the energy, consumer goods, property and technology sectors all seeing declines of more than 1% before the market close.

Markets in Seoul lagged other major markets in the region. Automakers were lower, with Hyundai Motor falling 3.9%. .Technology stocks were a mixed picture, with Samsung Electronics dropping 2.4% and LG Electronics bucking the trend to rise 4%.

In Australia, gains in materials and telecommunications were offset by declines in the financials sub-index. Utilities stocks fell more than 1% after jumping in the previous session.

The U.S. Federal Reserve raised rates by 25 basis points and signaled two additional rate hikes later in the year. Wednesday's interest rate hike pushed up the funds rate target to 1.75% to 2%. The central bank's first rate hike this year took place in March.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 slipped 14.97 points, or 0.4%, to 3,773.37

The declines recorded in greater China markets came as China's industrial production for May came in below expectations at 6.8%. Fixed asset investment and retail sales also missed forecasts.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times index fell back 35.78 points, or 1.1%, to 3,356.73

In Korea, markets returned after a day off, with the Kospi index subtracting 45.35 points, or 1.8%, to 2,423.48

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index dumped 159.23 points, or 1.4%, to 11,013.98

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 eked up but 0.88 points to 8,978.18

In Australia, the ASX 200 slid 6.9 points, or 0.1%, to 6,016.64

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