Asian Stocks Down after Fed Chair Acknowledges the Risk of a Recession


By Zhang Mengying – Asia-Pacific stocks were mostly down on Thursday morning as investors assessed the monetary policy outlook after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged the risk of a recession.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.23% by 11:06 p.m. ET (0306 GMT).

South Korea’s KOSPI slid 0.65%.

In Australia, the ASX 200 rose 0.21%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.65%.

China’s Shanghai Composite was up 0.42% while the Shenzhen Component was down 0.10%.

U.S. 10-year Treasuries yields declined two basis points to 3.13%.

Investors’ concerns grew as Fed Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged the risk of a recession. Powell said that an aggressive interest rate hike could lead to an economic contraction and called a soft landing “very challenging” in his testimony to the Senate Wednesday.

“We are still in an era where uncertainty is elevated and is expected to remain so for quite a while,” Advisors Capital Management portfolio manager JoAnne Feeney told Bloomberg.

“It’s risky right now in terms of the forward outlook for the global economy. Recession risk has clearly risen.”

Powell “has acknowledged that rates will continue to increase, but the FOMC committee is cognizant of watching incoming data, suggesting the Fed will not be exclusively on autopilot with tightening,” Integrity Asset Management portfolio manager Joe Gilbert told Bloomberg.

Powell will continue his testimony to the House later in the day.

On the data front, U.S. initial jobless claims is due on Thursday while U.S. University of Michigan consumer sentiment will be released on Friday.

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