Tuesday, January 21, 2020 | ePaper

Asian markets mixed after Fed minutes, eyes on Powell

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AFP, Hong Kong :
Asian markets stuttered Thursday but dealers remain wary following the release of Federal Reserve minutes that provided a mixed bag, with a speech by its chair at the end of the week the key point of focus. Donald Trump provided some fresh hope for China-US trade talks by saying a deal will "probably" be made, and Wall Street ended with healthy gains thanks to blockbuster results from retailers that indicated strong consumer demand.
But investors in Asia were playing it cool ahead of Jerome Powell's address to the central bankers' symposium at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday which will be scrutinised for an idea of Fed interest rate policy.
Minutes from the bank's July meeting - when it cut rates for the first time since the financial crisis - said policymakers were flexible and borrowing costs were not on a "preset course" despite trade uncertainty and weak global growth.
Stephen Innes of Valour Markets said the minutes "painted a convincing enough picture that the Feds will continue to go along with the market's expectations for more cuts, as they will not want to tighten financial conditions, but at the same time not feel pressured to get ahead of the curve".

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