Asia Markets

Asia-Pacific markets lower as IMF downgrades growth forecast for the region

Key Points
  • The IMF on Wednesday downgraded its forecast for Asia-Pacific to -2.2% in 2020 — "the worst outcome for this region in living memory."
  • Shares of ANA Holdings in Japan dropped 4.08% following reports that the airline is set to post multi-billion dollar losses for the fiscal year to March.

SINGAPORE — Shares in major Asia-Pacific markets declined on Thursday, as the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday downgraded its growth forecast for Asia-Pacific.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.7% to close at 23,474.27 while the Topix index fell 1.09% to end its trading day at 1,619.79. Shares of ANA Holdings dropped 4.08% following reports that the airline is set to post multi-billion dollar losses for the fiscal year to March. Japan Airlines also saw its stock decline 2.21%.

Mainland Chinese stocks were lower on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 0.38% to about 3,312.50 while the Shenzhen component shed 0.533% to around 13,396.18. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was around the flatline, as of its final hour of trading.

South Korea's Kospi declined 0.67% to close at 2,355.05. Shares in Australia fell, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 0.29% to finish its trading day at 6,173.80.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.25%.

The IMF on Wednesday downgraded its forecast for Asia-Pacific to -2.2% in 2020 — "the worst outcome for this region in living memory."

"Our latest Regional Economic Outlook shows that a recovery started in the third quarter, but growth engines are not all firing with the same power across countries, leading to a multispeed recovery," Jonathan D. Ostry, acting director of the Asia and Pacific Department at the IMF, wrote in a blog post.

Overnight stateside, stocks dipped as investors continued to watched for developments in U.S. coronavirus stimulus negotiations.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 92.768 after slipping from levels above 93.2 earlier this week,

The Japanese yen traded at 104.53 per dollar following a steep strengthening from levels above 105 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.1057 after touching an earlier high of $0.7119.

Oil prices edged higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.41% to $41.90 per barrel. U.S. crude futures advanced 0.25% to $40.13 per barrel.