Asia stocks finished mixed on Tuesday as investors took to the sidelines ahead of major central bank monetary policy decisions due later in the week.
Australia's ASX 200 fell 15.76 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,220.60, led by declines in the energy and materials sub-indexes. Japan's Nikkei 225 was off 86.02 points, or 0.49 percent, to 17,353.28, while the Kospi wavered between positive and negative territory before closing up 5.08 points, or 0.25 percent, at 2,019.63.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was down 0.31 percent as of 3:20 p.m. HK/SIN.
In Malaysia, the KLCI index was down 1.17 percent in late afternoon trade, as the ringgit fell against the dollar. The dollar/ringgit pair was up 1.18 percent at 3.9470, following reports that state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) missed payment on some of its bonds.
Reuters reported 1MDB as saying the fund did not make a $50.3 million interest payment on its bonds due 2022, following a stand-off with Abu Dhabi sovereign fund IPIC. 1MDB said it will meet all its other liabilities, according to Reuters.
The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) begins its two-day policy meeting later today local time, while decisions from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and the Bank of Japan (BOJ) are due Thursday Asia time. Most analysts expect the Fed to stand pat on rates, while half of the analysts polled by Reuters expect the BOJ to ease its monetary policy further.
"The Fed is unlikely to signal June as a potential rate hike meeting, but September is likely to see its market pricing firm alongside inflation expectations," said Angus Nicholson, a market analyst at IG.
For the BOJ, Nicholson expects an expansion in its ETF purchase program but "a further expansion of their bond purchases or cutting rates into deeper negative territory seems less likely."