Asian markets fall, dollar rises as US rate fears return

  • Wednesday 16, May 2018 in 11:02 AM
Sharjah 24 – AFP: Asian markets tumbled with Wall Street and the dollar extended gains Wednesday as US interest rate worries resurfaced, while geopolitical issues are also keeping investors cautious.
After enjoying a relatively purple patch over the past week, investors were put back on the back foot by solid retail sales data that pointed to a surge in inflation that could push the Federal Reserve to hike borrowing costs three more times this year.
 
The news boosted expectations for the world's number one economy and sent benchmark 10-year Treasury yields to a seven-year high.
 
But the prospect of debt costing more to service hit equities, sending all three main indexes on Wall Street lower. 
 
The losses spread to Asia with Hong Kong falling one percent and Shanghai 0.4 percent off.
 
Tokyo ended the morning session 0.4 percent lower after data showed Japan's economy contracted in January-March for the first time in two years.
 
Singapore shed 0.2 percent while Wellington and Manila both sank more than one percent. Jakarta and Taipei were also lower but Sydney rose 0.5 percent and Seoul edged up 0.1 percent.
 
The dollar, which benefits from higher US rates, climbed across the board, holding above 110 yen for the first time since early February.
 
The euro is at its weakest levels this year, with a series of soft economic data out of the eurozone denting the prospects of an end to the European Central Bank's crisis-era stimulus. And the pound continues to be dampened by Brexit uncertainty.