Asian shares seen falling on 'hawkish' Fed outlook

By Swati Pandey

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian shares were set to open significantly lower on Thursday as the U.S. Federal Reserve poured cold water on market expectations of a lengthy easing cycle after delivering a 25-basis-point cut.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell, speaking in a news conference after the release of the central bank’s statement, characterised Wednesday’s rate cut as “a mid-cycle adjustment to policy”, a sign to markets that sharp further cuts were not imminent.

Later in a press conference, Powell said Wednesday’s easing was “not the beginning of a long series of rate cuts”, sending U.S. equity markets into a tailspin and dollar to its highest since May 2017 against a basket of six major currencies. ()

Overnight, the Dow () and the Nasdaq () lost 1.2% each while the S&P 500 () declined 1.1%. MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe () slipped to a five-week low.

In a sign the gloomy mood is likely to spread to Asia, futures () faltered 0.3% while futures for Australia’s benchmark share index fell 0.4%. E-minis for the S&P500 () were off 0.3%.

“By not coming out and promising more cuts in the future, the market appears to have interpreted this policy move as hawkish,” said John Velis, forex and macro strategist at BNY Mellon.

U.S. Treasuries reacted by flattening the yield curve as the front-end of the market () scaled back on prior expectations for at least a 100 basis points of easing in the near-term.

Notably, yields on 10-year bonds () too came under pressure, suggesting “the market thinks the Fed is making a policy mistake by not being more dovish,” National Australia Bank analysts wrote in a note.

In foreign exchange, the dollar rose against the euro and Antipodean currencies on expectations monetary policies in Europe, Australia and New Zealand will remain accommodative.

The () finished July 2.5% higher though the greenback’s reaction against the Japanese yen was a bit muted at 108.77

The common currency () hit a more than two-year trough of $1.1065 overnight and was last at $1.1073.

The fell to $0.6832, its lowest since early January when a currency “flash crash” briefly took it to $0.6715 while the held at $0.6561 as markets wager on a rate cut by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand next week.

In commodities, crude oil futures settled higher on Wednesday for the fifth straight day, buoyed by a bigger-than-expected drop in U.S. inventories, but the stronger dollar helped bring prices down from session highs in post settlement trading. [O/R]

U.S. crude futures () were off 68 U.S. cents at $57.9. had settled up 0.7% at $65.17.

bounced from a two-week trough to add 0.1% to $1,414.46 an ounce.

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