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Published On: Mon, Aug 29th, 2016

Most Asian stock markets slip following Janet Yellen’s comments on interest rates

Most Asian stock market indices were trading lower on 29 August (Monday), but the Shanghai Composite was up 0.06% at 3,072.01 as of 5.08am GMT, following US Fed Janet Yellen’s comments on Friday (26 August).

Speaking at the annual symposium in the US state of Wyoming, Yellen said the case for increasing interest rates had “strengthened in recent months”.

Based on expectations of a moderate GDP growth and an increase in inflation to 2% over the next few years, she said: “The FOMC continues to anticipate that gradual increases in the federal funds rate will be appropriate over time to achieve and sustain employment and inflation near our statutory objectives.”

While she failed to disclose the timing of the potential rate increase, she remained upbeat about the US economy. Yellen said solid growth in household spending had led to an expansion of the US economy. She was, however, disappointed that business investment remained low and that exports continued to be sluggish amid the appreciation of the dollar since mid-2014.

“While the move towards another Fed rate hike will likely cause bouts of consternation in investment markets, I don’t see the same degree of uncertainty that we saw around last year’s Fed rate hike,” Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The Nikkei managed to buck the bearish trend, making its biggest one-day gain in three weeks amid a weakening of the yen against the US dollar.

Indices in the region were trading as follows at 5.19am GMT

Country Index Price Up/Down %Change
Hong Kong Hang Seng Index 22,831.13 Down 0.34%
Japan Nikkei 225 16,742.15 Up 2.33%
South Korea KOSPI 2,032.95 Down 0.22%
India CNX Nifty 8,566.40 Down 0.07%
Australia S&P/ASX 200 5,458.20 Down 1.04%

Last week (26 August), the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 18,395.40, down 0.29%, while the FTSE 100 closed at 6,838.05, up 0.31%.

Among commodities, oil prices were in the red. While WTI crude oil was trading lower by 1.39% at $46.98 (£35.79) a barrel, Brent crude was 1.20% lower at $49.32 a barrel as of 5.27am GMT. – IBTimes