Asia Mostly Higher as Fed Signals Rate Slowing

Markets in the Asia-Pacific traded higher as the U.S. Federal Reserve said they expect to switch to smaller rate hikes “soon,” according to minutes released on Wednesday.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 returned from holiday to climb 267.35 points, or 1%, to 28,323.09

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng moved upward 137.09 points, or 0.6%, to 17,523.81.

The Bank of Korea raised its benchmark interest rates by 25 basis points hike to 3.25%. The Kospi rose 0.9% to close at 2,441.33 and the Korean won slightly strengthened against the U.S. dollar to 1,328.2.

Grab said it broadly supports Singapore’s latest announcement to expand job protection and benefits for gig workers from 2024.

The decision includes guaranteeing injury compensation and pension payments as part of new standards for the gig economy, primarily affecting delivery and ride-hailing companies.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand had considered an even bigger rate hike in making its latest official cash rate decision – despite its move to raise rates by 75 basis points already being its steepest ever.

In other markets

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 dropped 16.72 points, or 0.4%, to 3,756.81.

In Taiwan, the Taiex vaulted 175.46 points, or 1.2%, to 14,784.

In Korea, the Kospi index gained 23.32 points, or 1%, to 2,441.33.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index slid 3.11 points, or 0.1%, to 3,252.88.

In Australia, the ASX 200 acquired 9.99 points, or 0.1%, to 7,241.75.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 lost 2.09 points to 11,321.71.