Asian stocks edge lower in lead up to central bank meetings, tracking Wall Street’s declines

Asian stocks edge lower in lead up to central bank meetings, tracking Wall Street’s declines

Against the yen, the dollar was mostly steady at 111.07 at 12:36 p.m. HK/SIN, ahead of the Bank of Japan’s statement on monetary policy due on Tuesday. The central bank began its policy meeting on Monday.

“Our base case scenario is for the BOJ to make no policy change. But there is increasing speculation the BOJ may tweak its yield curve control settings in part because of lower bank profitability and muted inflation in Japan,” Elias Haddad, senior currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a note.

Stateside, the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee will embark on its two-day meeting on Tuesday, although not much is expected to result from that. Still, investors are keeping watch for clues as to whether the central bank will raise rates for the fourth time this year in December.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of peers, was a touch firmer at 94.722.

On the commodities front, Brent crude futures was flat at $74.29 per barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.31 percent to trade at $68.90.

In individual movers, Hotel Shilla was up 2.55 percent after rising more than 6 percent earlier in the session. The company reported a 303 percent increase in operating income after the market close on Friday.

Over in China, shares of Changsheng Biotechnology dropped 5 percent amid public outcry over a recent vaccine scandal. The pharmaceuticals company reportedly fabricated manufacturing and test records, Reuters reported, citing state media. Other Chinese pharmaceuticals names also saw declines, with the CSI 300 health care index falling almost 3 percent going into the lunch break.

Meanwhile, other companies due to report earnings on Monday include Hang Lung Properties and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group.

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