Asian Stock MarketsAsia-Pacific Stocks Fall as Bank of Japan Holds Steady on Monetary Policy

A man walks past a screen displaying share prices inside the Osaka Securities Exchange building, operated by Japan Exchange Group Inc. (JPX), in Osaka, Japan, [Photo/Bloomberg]

Shares in Asia-Pacific were lower in Thursday trade as the Bank of Japan announced its decision to hold steady on monetary policy.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan declined 1.05% while the Topix index shed 0.69%. Retail sales in Japan fell 0.6% in September from a year earlier, according to government data released Thursday.

Asian Markets Chart
Nikkei 225 Index Performance Chart

The Bank of Japan kept interest rate targets unchanged on Thursday and the central bank cut its real GDP growth outlook and consumer inflation forecasts for fiscal 2021.

Mainland Chinese stocks were also lower, with the Shanghai composite slipping 0.93% and the Shenzhen component dipping 0.38%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell into negative territory, declining 0.09%.

Shares in Australia slipped as the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.37%. Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi bucked the overall trend regionally as it traded above the flatline.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.22% lower.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 266.19 points to 35,490.69 while the S&P 500 slipped about 0.51% to 4,551.68. The Nasdaq Composite was flat at 15,235.84.

Asian Markets Oil and Currencies

Oil prices slumped to their lowest in two weeks after official figures showed a surprise jump in U.S. inventories of crude, and rising cases of COVID-19 in Europe, Russia, and some outbreaks of infections in China dented hopes for an economic recovery.

Brent crude dropped $1.58, or 1.9%, to $83.00 a barrel by 0502 GMT, having hit a two-week low of $82.32 earlier and fallen by 2.1% in the previous session.

U.S. oil fell $1.39, or 1.7%, to $81.27 a barrel, also a one-week low, after dropping 2.4 on Wednesday

Shares of oil firms in Asia-Pacific also declined, with Australia’s Beach Energy dropping 2.26%. In Japan, Inpex fell 3.55% while Hong Kong-listed shares of PetroChina plunged 3.61%.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.811 — still off levels around 94 seen recently.

The Japanese yen traded at 113.60 per dollar, stronger than levels above 114 seen earlier in the week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7505, off levels around $0.753 seen earlier this week.

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