Monday, April 22, 2019 | ePaper
Asian rally stalls before Fed meeting, pound rebounds from losses
Asian markets were mixed Tuesday as investors bide their time until the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting, while the pound fought back against the dollar after taking a hit from the latest twist in Britain's Brexit saga.
With little fresh information on developments in China-US trade talks, focus has turned this week to the US central bank and its interest rate plans.
Board members are widely expected to hold fire on another hike but its post-meeting statement Wednesday will be pored over, with observers predicting it will opt for just one increase this year, as opposed to the two previously tipped, owing to the stuttering economy.
The Fed's softer tone has been one of the key factors in a global stocks rally this year, with investors buoyed by the prospect of cheap borrowing.
Wall Street provided a positive lead with all three main indexes ending higher, though Asia struggled to take up the baton.
Hong Kong was barely moved after three days of gains, while Shanghai edged up 0.1 percent and Tokyo went into the break down 0.3 percent.
Sydney, Singapore and Seoul were flat, while Wellington and Taipei each dipped 0.2 percent.
On currency markets the pound was slowly edging back up against the dollar after taking a hit from fresh Brexit uncertainty after Prime Minister Theresa May was told she would not be allowed to hold another vote on her exit deal.
Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow used a centuries-old rule that said the government could not submit its Brexit deal for another vote in parliament if it is "the same" or "substantially the same" to the one already rejected by MPs.
The decision means May must come up with a revised plan just two weeks before the key March 29 deadline for leaving, having already been told by EU leaders they will not budge any further.