Major Asian markets drop after rocky day on Wall Street amid inflation, interest rate fears

Hong Kong
CNN Business

Asian stocks fell Wednesday after another turbulent day for US markets, as investors continue to sell off amid fears of global inflation, further interest rate hikes and broader economic turmoil.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei

index slid 2.2% as of lunchtime local time Wednesday, while South Korea’s Kospi

dropped 2.8%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index

shed 2.2%, as China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite

index slipped 0.9%. Australia’s S&P/ ASX 200 was also down 0.9%.

The dips come after another volatile day on Wall Street, with the Dow

and S&P 500

reaching their lowest levels since November 2020. That put the Dow

deeper into a bear market, as it fell more than 125 points, or 0.4%. The S&P 500

, meanwhile, pointed down 0.2%.

The Nasdaq (COMP) however, closed up 0.3% — eking out its first gain since September 19.

As of 12:30 ET on Wednesday, US stock futures were pointing down.

The US Federal Reserve’s aggressive rate-hiking policy and Britain’s newly announced tax cuts have spiked investor jitters around the world, and caused the US dollar to surge. But the greenback’s rally is also feeding investor concerns, Societe Generale’s Kit Juckes noted Monday, as large surges historically occur alongside global economic crises.

Consumers globally have also already been struggling to adjust to rising prices across the board, from food to basic necessities.

Investors are worried about the likelihood of inflation continuing to worsen — and that the Fed will keep raising rates sharply for the foreseeable future.

“Fed members are all singing from the same hymn book. They are willing to weaken the economy to bring inflation in check,” said Alex Chaloff, co-head of investment strategies at Bernstein Private Wealth Management.

“They are saying it over and over and over again because, up until ten days ago, the market didn’t believe them,” Chaloff said.

— Nicole Goodkind contributed to this report.

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