Asian shares set for mostly weaker open after Fed

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Asian shares were set to drift lower on Thursday as concerns about the strength of the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic remained, even after the U.S. Federal Reserve pledged to hold interest rates near zero until at least 2023.

FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective masks, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, are reflected on a screen showing stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan August 31, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon 17 Sep 2020 08:00AM Share this content

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NEW YORK: Asian shares were set to drift lower on Thursday as concerns about the strength of the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic remained, even after the U.S. Federal Reserve pledged to hold interest rates near zero until at least 2023.

Australian S&P/ASX 200 futures lost 0.22per cent in early trading. Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures were flat, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures lost 0.15per cent.

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E-mini futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.47per cent.

The Fed said it would keep interest rates near zero until inflation is on track to “moderately exceed” the central bank’s 2per cent inflation target “for some time,” with the aim of offsetting years of weak inflation and allowing the economy to add jobs for as long as possible.

The median forecast of Fed policy makers is for rates to stay near zero through 2023.

“Of course, sensible people wouldn’t really hold anyone to macro forecasts that far out so we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” said Derek Holt, head of capital markets economics at Scotiabank. “Nevertheless, markets are priced for basically one outcome here and that is little inflation and no hikes for years to come.”

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U.S. shares rose with the Fed’s statement, which came after

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