Asian Stocks in the Red, Indonesia Bucking the Trend
Asian shares are facing pressures on Friday (13/11) due to lower oil prices and increasing expectation that the US Federal Reserve will raise its key Fed Fund Rate by 25 basis points in December. Resource stocks are dragging down stock indices in Australia, Hong Kong and China by more than one percent. Indonesia's benchmark Jakarta Composite Index, however, is bucking the trend in Asia, having risen 0.51 percent to 4,485.12 points by 10:20 am local Jakarta time amid red indices in Asia. Meanwhile, the US dollar is strengthening against Asian currencies but not as sharply as initially predicted.
Based on the Bloomberg Dollar Index, the Indonesian rupiah had depreciated 0.25 percent to IDR 13,631 per US dollar by 10:20 am local Jakarta time.
Stocks in Asia are following the example set by US and European stocks overnight. The deepening slump in oil prices, metals and other commodities were the main factor why stock prices across Europe and the USA headed lower on Thursday (12/11). The Dow Jones industrial Average fell 1.4 percent to 17,448.07, Standard & Poor's 500 declined 1.4 percent to 2,045.97, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 1.2 percent to 5,005.08 yesterday.
Yesterday, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and regional Fed Presidents William Dudley, Charles Evans as well as Jeffrey Lacker spoke but provided little clarity on the US central bank’s monetary stance. However, based on a recent poll of business and academic economists conducted by The Wall Street Journal, roughly 92 percent of participants said to expect a Fed Fund Rate hike at the 15-16 December policy meeting.
Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer stated that the Fed's decision to maintain ultra-low interest rates has been a key factor in safeguarding the economy. The US economy is growing stably although the strong US dollar and global turmoil have been a drag.
The US crude oil price declined 2.7 percent to USD $41.75 per barrel after the latest data indicated that US stockpiles showed a larger-than-expected increase. Meanwhile, copper prices hit a six-year low, while gold was at its lowest point in more than five years.