Asian markets fall post Fed official’s taper talk


Asian markets fell on Tuesday after a statement by a top official at the US Federal Reserve who said that the bank might announce a small cut in its stimulus program next week.

With a string of upbeat US data pointing to a pick-up in the economy and boosting confidence, the Japanese yen – considered a haven during uncertainty – came under pressure against the dollar and euro as investors seek out higher-yielding, “riskier” assets.

Tokyo eased 0.25 per cent, or 38.90 points, to 15,611.31, Sydney was almost unchanged, edging down 0.8 points to 5,143.6 and Seoul gave up 0.35 per cent, or 6.93 points, to end at 1,993.45.

Shanghai closed flat, edging down 0.71 points to 2,237.49 while Hong Kong lost 0.28 per cent, or 66.98 points, to end at 23,744.19 after China released a mixed set of data showing growth in industrial output slowing while retail sales picked up speed.

James Bullard, the president of the Fed’s St. Louis branch, said Monday that “a small taper” of the bank’s $85 billion a month bond-buying scheme could be on the cards at its December 17-18 policy meeting.


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