- Asia-Pacific shares eye the biggest monthly drop since March 2020.
- Fears of economic slowdown, hawkish central bank weighs on equities.
- Recent data from China, Japan fail to impress traders amid pre-inflation release anxiety in the market.
Asia-Pacific stocks remain pressured heading into the last European trading day of the worst month in 2.5 years. The region’s equities brace for the biggest monthly loss since March 2020 as traders fear grim conditions ahead, mainly due to the fears of higher rates and a lack of economic optimism.
While portraying the mood, the MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan drop near 12.5% in a month to print the biggest monthly loss since March 2020, up 0.20% intraday. That said, Japan’s Nikkei dropped 2.15% on a day despite firmer activity data from Japan and stimulus hopes.
Further, equities from China, Australia and New Zealand were in the red as the dragon nation flashed mixed activity data while also raising doubts on the Chinese authorities’ market interventions. Elsewhere, Hong Kong shares were likely heading for their worst quarter since 2001 and Chinese blue-chips might also finish September by recording their biggest quarterly loss since a stock market meltdown in 2015, per Reuters.
It’s worth noting that South Korea’s KOSPI and Indonesia’s IDX Composite print mild losses as India announced less than feared rate hikes.
On a different page, gold prices grind higher while the US Dollar Index (DXY) trace yields to defend buyers, despite bracing for the first weekly loss in three. Additionally, WTI crude oil stays ready to snap a four-week downtrend, retreating of late.
Moving on, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, namely the Core Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) Price Index for August, expected 4.7% YoY versus 4.6% prior, appears crucial for the market players for short-term directions. Also important will be the Eurozone HICPI and CPI details for September. Above all, risk catalysts will be crucial for near-term directions as firmer inflation data could weigh on the equities and roil the mood.