Asia stocks edge up on Fed’s cautious rates outlook, dollar sags
TOKYO, June 16 (Reuters) – Asian stocks edged up on Thursday after the Federal Reserve refrained from hiking interest rates and signalled markets can count on relatively loose liquidity conditions over the short term, while the dollar sagged against its peers.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3 percent.
Australian stocks added 0.7 percent, but Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.8 percent, hurt by the yen’s latest uptick.
On the whole, investors were still cautious on worries that Britain may vote to leave the European Union, which saw U.S. stocks fall for a fifth straight session overnight despite the Fed’s subdued view on interest rates.
While the U.S. central bank kept policy steady as widely expected and lowered its economic projections, it did signal that it still planned to raise rates twice in 2016.
However, the Fed’s conviction appeared shakier, with 6 of its 17 policymakers projecting just one increase this year. Only one Fed policymaker had done so when economic forecasts were last issued in March.
Focus is now squarely on the Bank of Japan, which concludes its two-day policy meeting later on Thursday.
While the BOJ is widely expected to keep monetary policy steady this month, speculation that the central bank would be forced to act lingered as volatile financial markets, sluggish global growth and anaemic inflation have kept policymakers under pressure to ease more.
"Clearly some possibility of stimulus is reflected in recent market action, and failure to move could see disappointment selling across the Asia Pacific region," wrote Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.
In currencies, a decline in U.S. Treasury debt yields following the Fed’s decision weighed on the dollar.
The greenback was down 0.1 percent at 105.850 yen after hitting 105.410 overnight, its lowest since October 2014.
The euro was steady at $1.1262 after gaining 0.5 percent overnight.
The 10-year Treasury note yield hovered near 1.567 percent, a four-month low struck on Tuesday.
The recent bout of global risk aversion generated by Brexit fears have boosted safe-havens like government debt, sending the German and Japanese benchmark 10-year yields to record lows this week.
The Brexit concerns also saw U.S. crude oil fall 1.2 percent to $47.42 a barrel, on track for a sixth straight day of losses.