The Australian dollar slipped Tuesday afternoon as the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) rhetoric appeared slightly dovish, while equities around the region struggled.
The RBA kept its cash rate unchanged at a record low of 1.50 percent, noting recent economic data were consistent with moderate growth, but citing concerns over a softer labor market. The central bank also noted that regulators had moved to reinforce lending standards, indicating the RBA may be less concerned about rising home prices.
Analysts said the statement was read as slightly dovish.
"There are some subtle signs that the Bank is becoming more concerned about the outlook for the labor market and underlying inflation, but less concerned about the housing market," Paul Dales, chief Australia economist at Capital Economics, said in a note Tuesday. "We think that shift has further to go and that it will prompt the RBA to cut interest rates to 1.0 percent by the end of the year."
The Australian dollar fell as low as $0.7559 following the RBA's decision, from levels above $0.76 earlier in the session.
In the stock market, the benchmark ASX 200 shed 0.27 percent, or 16.084 points, to end at 5856.60, with most sectors trading lower.
The heavily-weighted financial subindex was down 0.65 percent as shares of major Australian banks slipped. ANZ declined 0.44 percent, while the Commonwealth Bank fell 0.53 percent, Westpac was down 0.97 percent and the National Australia Bank shed 0.93 percent.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.91 percent, or 172.98 points, to end at 18,810.25 as stocks came under pressure from a stronger yen.
Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi was down 0.3 percent, or 6.41 points, at 2161.10.
Chris Weston, chief market strategist at spreadbettor IG, reckoned Tuesday's trade had a "distinct risk-off vibe, although the moves in equities are probably best described as a 'drift', rather than a 'spike' lower."