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Yen pops on reports of direct intervention; Asian markets sink on hawkish Fed

This is CNBC's live blog covering Asia-Pacific markets.

Pedestrians walk past the Exchange Square complex, which houses the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, March 23, 2021.
Paul Yeung | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Asia markets traded lower on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates and signaled further hikes ahead. U.S. stocks were volatile and closed sharply lower following the announcement.

The Japanese yen strengthened to 140-levels against the dollar after reports of officials announcing to have conducted a direct intervention to defend the currency. Japan's central bank kept interest rates unchanged, in line with expectations.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 1.61% to close at 18,147.95 with the Hang Seng Tech index dropping 1.7%. The Shanghai Composite in mainland China shed 0.27% to 3,108.91 and the Shenzhen Component dipped 0.839% to 11,114.43.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan slipped 0.58% to 27,153.83, and the Topix index fell 0.24% to 1,916.12.

South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.63% to 2,332.31 and the Kosdaq lost 0.46% to 751.41. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.39%.

Australia's market was closed for a holiday.


The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to continue hiking interest rates to as high as 4.6% in 2023, according to its median forecast.

— CNBC's Jeff Cox, Samantha Subin, Carmen Reinicke and Yun Li contributed to this report.

Japanese yen strengthens on reports of official announcing FX intervention

The Japanese yen strengthened more than 2% against the dollar after reports of officials announcing a direct intervention to defend its currency.

That comes after the yen weakened to 145-levels against the greenback after the Bank of Japan's decision to hold its rates steady.

Japanese vice finance minister for international affairs Masato Kanda told reporters that officials have taken "decisive action" in the exchange market, Reuters reported.

–Jihye Lee

Oil prices climb after Fed's rate hikes, demand fears linger

Oil prices climbed following the Fed's third consecutive rate hike.

Reuters also reported Chinese refiners are expecting the nation to release up to 15 million tonnes worth of oil products export quotas for the rest of the year, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Brent crude futures rose 0.45% to stand at $90.24 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate also gained 0.45% to $83.3 per barrel.

— Lee Ying Shan

Fed hike likely to keep Asian risk assets under pressure, JPMorgan says

Asian risk assets, especially export-oriented companies, will remain under pressure in the short term following the Fed's rate hike, according to Tai Hui, chief APAC market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management.

Tai added that a strong U.S. dollar is likely to persist, but tightening monetary policy in most Asian central banks — with the exception of China and Japan — should help limit the extent of Asian currency depreciation.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, strengthened sharply and last stood at 111.697.

— Abigail Ng

Bank of Japan holds steady, stands by yield curve control policy – yen weakens past 145

The Bank of Japan kept its interest rates on hold, according to an announcement posted on its website – meeting expectations forecasted by economists in a Reuters poll.

The Japanese yen weakened to 145 against the greenback shortly after the decision.

"Japan's economy has picked up as the resumption of economic activity has progressed while public health has been protected from Covid-19, despite being affected by factors such as a rise in commodity prices," the central bank said in the statement.

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Asian currencies weaken after Fed's third-straight big hike

Currencies in the Asia-Pacific weakened further after the U.S. Federal Reserve delivered its third consecutive rate hike of 75 basis points.

China's onshore yuan weakened past 7.09 per dollar, hovering near levels not seen since June 2020.

The Japanese yen weakened to 144.51, while the Korean won also surged past 1,409 against the greenback – the weakest since March 2009.

Australia's dollar fell to $0.6589.

–Jihye Lee

U.S. 2-year Treasury yield inches toward 2007 highs

The 2-year Treasury yield inched as high as 4.132% in Asia's morning trade after the Fed hiked rates by 75 basis points, close to the October 2007 high of 4.138%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield stood at 3.5514% after hitting 3.64% overnight in the U.S.

— Abigail Ng

British pound slides further to hover around 37-year low

The British pound fell further in Asia's morning trade, hitting $1.1217 — its lowest level since 1985.

The currency has been losing ground against the U.S. dollar this year as economic concerns rise.

Analysts are split over whether the U.K. central bank will hike rates by 50 basis points or 75 basis points later today.

Sterling last traded at $1.1223.

— Abigail Ng

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Morgan Stanley's Mike Wilson is staying defensive amid the persistent market volatility this year. He names the key attribute he's looking for in stocks.

Stocks with this attribute have been "rewarded" this year, with the trend likely to persist until the market turns more bullish, according to Wilson.

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Bank of Japan likely to maintain yield curve control for rest of 2022: DBS

Substantial adjustments to the Bank of Japan's policies are likely to happen only after the central bank's leadership changes in mid-2023, DBS Group Research said in a note Tuesday.

But the BOJ may consider some "policy finetuning," such as widening the target band by 10 basis points, in response to market pressures, analysts wrote.

It added that "regardless of intervention," the dollar-yen could test 147.66 last seen in August 1998, adding they are not ruling out USD/JPY pushing above 150 "without a hard landing in the U.S. prompting Fed cuts."

— Abigail Ng

Stock futures open lower

U.S. stock futures fell on Wednesday night following a volatile session in the major averages as traders weighed another large rate hike from the Federal Reserve.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures declined by 16 points, or 0.05%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures dipped 0.19% and 0.31%, respectively.

— Sarah Min

Stocks slide, Dow closes 522 points lower in volatile trading session

Stocks wavered on Wednesday but finished the session deep in the red after the Federal Reserve announced another 75 basis point rate hike.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 522.45 points, or 1.7%, to close at 30,183.78. The S&P 500 slid 1.71% to 3,789.93 and the Nasdaq Composite dove 1.79% to 11,220.19.

— Samantha Subin