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Federal Reserve’s Announcement causes instability throughout Asian markets

August 20, 2020

Asian markets

Asian equities are set to follow Wall Street’s late session retreat on Thursday after the Federal Reserve issued a warning the U.S. economy faced a rocky and uncertain road to recovery from the current downturn caused by covid-19.

The market had been bullish up until the Federal Reserve’s comments, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both hitting all-time highs driven largely by Apple Inc, its shares rose a modest 1.4% to make it the first publicly listed U.S. company to reach $2 trillion in market capitalization.

Wall Street’s Gloomy finish on Wednesday gave Asian markets a dour lead with Australian S&P/ASX 200 futures losing 0.25%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures down 0.15% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures off 0.08%.

Putting the brakes on Wall Street’s earlier impressive rally were minutes from the Federal Reserve’s July meeting, which showed the quick turnaround in employment seen in May and June had likely slowed and that additional “substantial improvement” in the labor market would hinge on a “broad and sustained” reopening of business activity.

The readout on Federal Reserve’s discussions points towards further action that the U.S. central bank could take in September. No change in interest rate policy is expected until the end of 2021.

Wall Street stocks fell back and later closed lower owing to the Federal Reserve’s news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.31%, the S&P 500 lost 0.44% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.57%.

Despite the dovish minutes, U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar rose with investors focusing on parts of the minutes that showed policymakers downplaying the need for yield caps and targets, Some investors had hoped the Federal Reserve would follow through on a proposed policy to cap yields at a certain level by buying short-term debt, a move that would reinforce the central bank’s guidance for low rates.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury notes last fell 1/32 in price to yield 0.6785%, from 0.675% late on Tuesday, The 30-year bond last fell 1/32 in price to yield 1.4154%, from 1.415%.

The dollar index, which reflects the Dollars value against six leading trading currencies, rose 0.88%, with the euro down 0.75% to $1.184. The Japanese yen weakened 0.62% to 106.05 per dollar.