Traders at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The Hang Seng index dropped 0.8% yesterday.
Asian shares resumed their decline after paring early losses yesterday after a sharp fall in mainland Chinese shares on Wednesday rekindled worries about the health of China’s economy, and investors awaited the result of a meeting of the European Central Bank.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.4% at 0604 GMT. Japan’s Nikkei ended the day down 0.6%.
ECB President Mario Draghi is widely expected to keep the door open for more monetary stimulus in the face of deflation risks, but is seen stopping short of taking new policy steps at yesterday’s meeting.
That meeting will be followed next week by central bank policy meetings in the US and Japan, as well as four-day leadership meeting of China’s Communist party.
“I think the rebound in markets is coming to an end. From now, markets will be looking to policy events later this month as well as corporate earnings,” said Hirokazu Kabeya, chief global strategist at Daiwa Securities.
The Shanghai index rose 0.3% yesterday, however, and the CSI 300 index added 0.4%, while the Hang Seng index dropped 0.8%.
The dollar held steady against a basket of six currencies at 95.015 but fell 0.3% to 119.67 yen. The euro stood at $1.1335, barely moving this week ahead of the ECB’s meeting.
The Australian dollar reversed an earlier recovery from the one-week low of $0.7202 seen Wednesday, extending losses to $0.7195 on speculation mortgage rate increases by two lenders would lead to policy easing by the central bank .
The Canadian dollar fell to C$1.3149 per US dollar yesterday, its lowest in 2 1/2 weeks, as the Canadian central bank lowered its growth forecasts for 2016 and 2017. It has since recovered to C$1.3127.
Oil prices, which fell to three-week lows as the US government reported a bigger than expected build-up in crude oil stockpiles, recovered some of their losses.
Brent futures, which dropped to a three-week low of $47.50 per barrel on Wednesday, rose 0.6% to $48.13. US crude futures settled at $45.43 a barrel, after slumping to $44.86 a barrel, the lowest since Oct. 2, in earlier trade.
US natural gas futures fell to a three-year low of $2.379 permn British thermal units on Wednesday on forecasts for warmer weather over the next two weeks. They were last trading at $2.397.
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