Stocks fall in Asia ahead of US inflation numbers

HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian markets fell yesterday, following a weak lead from Wall Street and as investors awaited a key US inflation report late yesterday.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.22% to 23,958.60, while Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 was down 1% at the close.

Shanghai also slipped.

During the previous trading day, European and US stock markets fell as traders tracked developments surrounding the Omicron coronavirus variant and the fallout from the Chinese real estate crisis – shattering a three-day rally.

Traders were awaiting the latest US consumer price data, slated for release yesterday, which is expected to show an increase in inflation last month. And next week’s Federal Reserve meeting could offer clues as to the pace of interest rate cuts and increases.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. PHOTO: AP

“It goes without saying that today’s inflation report in the United States is the main event,” said Matt Simpson, senior market analyst at City Index. “It peaked in 30 years in October and the expectation is that those numbers will be inflated further.

“We can see today’s report as a proxy for next week’s Federal Reserve meeting, as the hotter inflation is the more pressure it puts on the Fed to step up its pace. rate of reduction. ”

Elsewhere in Asia yesterday, Seoul, Taipei and Singapore were down slightly, while Wellington was up slightly.

Investors were also concerned about the debt crisis in China’s real estate sector, after Fitch Ratings announced Thursday that two major Chinese real estate companies had defaulted on $ 1.6 billion in bonds to foreign creditors.

The agency confirmed that Evergrande first defaulted on more than $ 1.2 billion in bond debt, lowering the company’s status to a narrow default rating.

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