Japan’s Nikkei 225 drops 2% as Asia-Pacific markets largely fall

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific declined in Thursday trade following losses overnight that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average notching its first decline of 2022.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 2.08% as it led losses among the region’s major markets, while the Topix index dipped 1.39%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed 0.78%. Hong Kong-listed shares of debt-ridden developer China Evergrande Group fell 1.88%. Reuters reported that the firm will seek a six month delay in making payments on an onshore bond.

The Shanghai composite in mainland China declined 0.64% while the Shenzhen component slipped 1.266%.

South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.38%. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.84%, with shares of Afterpay plunging nearly 11%.

In Southeast Asia, the Straits Times index outperformed the broader region as it gained 0.41%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 1.05% lower.

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Minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s December meeting released Wednesday showed officials are ready to aggressively dial back policy help.

Major indexes on Wall Street fell sharply following the release of the minutes, with the S&P 500 dropping 1.94% to 4,700.58. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 392.54 points to 36,407.11 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite plunged 3.34% to 15,100.17.

Meanwhile, the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield touched 1.7% on Wednesday, last sitting at 1.6981%. Yields move inversely to prices.

Oil falls 1%

Oil prices were lower in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures slipping 1.19% to $79.84 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 1.09% to $77 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.149 — off levels above 96.3 seen earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen traded at 115.88 per dollar, weaker than levels below 115.5 seen against the greenback earlier in the week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7198 after seeing an earlier high of $0.7222.

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