Hong Kong stocks fall to new lows since 2009, Bank of Japan holds rates

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

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, April 25, 2022.
Toru Hanai | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Hong Kong stocks plunged to its lowest levels since April 2009, leading losses in the Asia-Pacific as the Bank of Japan left its benchmark interest rate unchanged.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong closed 3.66% lower at 14,863.06 after losing more than 4% earlier in the session, dragged by the Hang Seng Tech index falling 5.56%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.87% to 6,785.70. The Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 0.88% to 27,105.20, while the Topix was 0.34% lower at 1,899.05. The Japanese yen initially maintained 146-levels after the Bank of Japan kept rates at ultra-low levels, but later weakened past 147.

South Korea's Kospi was 0.89% lower at 2,268.40. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.89%.

In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite was 2.25% lower at 2,915.93 and the Shenzhen Component shed 3.24% to close at 10,401.84.

Overnight in the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 194.17 points, or 0.6%, to end at 32,033.28 in its fifth straight positive session. The S&P 500 closed 0.6% lower at 3,807.30, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 1.6% to 10,792.68.

Hong Kong tech stocks extend losses in afternoon session

Shares of Hong Kong-listed tech companies fell sharply in its afternoon session, dragging down the wider index.

Tencent fell 5.91% and Meituan fell 8.12%, while Xiaomi and Alibaba both lost more than 5%.

Bilibili plunged 11.3%, while EV-maker Xpeng fell 14.4%. Li Auto also fell more than 11%.

— Jihye Lee

Bank of Japan's strategy is buying time, says Goldman Sachs economist

Japan's central bank's strategy is to buy time to keep the yen from weakening: Goldman Sachs
BoJ's strategy is to buy time to keep yen from weakening: Goldman Sachs

Officials at Japan's Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Japan are currently "buying time" to defend their ultra dovish policy, according to Goldman Sachs chief Japan economist Naohiko Baba.

"Their strategy is buying time as much as possible, intervening in the currency market occasionally," he said on CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia."

"They don't think the monetary policy should be used to address that other issue," he said of the weakening of the Japanese yen. "If so, [the] BOJ needs to raise rates substantially."

— Jihye Lee

Chip stocks fall after U.S. official says allies could impose export limits on China soon

Semiconductor stocks in Asia slumped after U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce Alan Estevez said he expects an imminent deal with allies to limit some chip-related exports to China.

"We expect to have a deal done in the near term," he said at a Center for a New American Security event.

Samsung Electronics dropped more than 3%, while SK Hynix tanked 6%.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company slid 1.56% and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation lost 1.92%.

Earlier this month, the U.S. announced new export curbs on advanced technology exports to China in a bid to restrain Beijing's military systems.

Japan and the Netherlands both also produce advanced equipment used to make chips, but do not have controls on exports to China yet.

— Abigail Ng

Australian mining stocks drop, Fortescue metals plunge more than 8%

Australian mining stocks slumped in Asia's morning session, weighing down the broader S&P/ASX 200 index.

Fortescue Metals shares plunged as much as 8.21% after its quarterly production report said higher costs were driven by inflationary pressures including diesel costs, and labor rates.

Rio Tinto shares were down 4.6%, while BHP shares slipped 4.7%.

Other mineral companies like Whitehaven Coal shed 5.75%, while Bluescope Steel dropped 4%.

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— Lee Ying Shan

Bank of Japan keeps interest rates on hold as expected

Japan's central bank left interest rates unchanged Friday, in line with predictions by economists in a Reuters poll.

The Bank of Japan also said it would purchase necessary amounts of Japanese government bonds at a fixed rate in order to keep 10-year JGB yields at 0%.

"The Bank will support financing, mainly of firms, and maintain stability in financial markets, and will not hesitate to take additional easing measures if necessary," it said in its monetary policy statement.

— Jihye Lee

LG Electronics trades higher ahead of third quarter earnings

Shares of LG Electronics rose as much as 1.25% in morning trade ahead of its earnings report for the third quarter.

The tech company announced preliminary earnings earlier this month — expecting revenue to rise 14% to 21.2 trillion won ($14.96 billion) and operating profit to increase 25% to 746.6 billion won.

The stock was last up 0.37%, while the broader Kospi was up around 0.14%.

— Abigail Ng

Bank of Japan expected to hold rates

The Bank of Japan is expected to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at -0.1%, according to economists surveyed in a Reuters poll.

The central bank is also likely to slightly downgrade its growth forecasts, while revising up its inflation predictions, Reuters reported, citing sources.

Separately, Japanese officials are expected to unveil a new stimulus program worth more than 29 trillion yen ($200 billion), Reuters reported, citing ruling party and government officials.

— Jihye Lee

Japan's unemployment rate inches up to 2.6% in September

The unemployment rate in Japan rose to 2.6% for the month of September, official data from the Statistics Bureau showed.

Analysts polled by Reuters expected unemployment to stay unchanged from August at 2.5%.

— Abigail Ng

CNBC Pro: There's a lot of pain ahead for markets, strategist warns

Investors should think twice before chasing the recent bounce in stocks, according to one strategist.

"I think the market rally is a breathing space rally," Beat Wittmann, chairman of Switzerland's Porta Advisors, told CNBC.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

Jenni Reid

ECB hikes rates by 75 basis points and announces new terms for European banks

The European Central Bank announced Thursday a 75-basis-point interest rate hike — its third consecutive increase this year — while also revealing new conditions for European banks.

The latest rate hike takes the ECB's main benchmark from 0.75% to 1.5%, a level not seen since 2009 before the sovereign debt crisis. It comes after the central bank rose rates by 50 basis points in July and 75 basis points in September.

The ECB also announced that it was changing the terms and conditions of its targeted longer-term refinancing operations, or TLTROs — a tool that provides European banks with attractive borrowing conditions, designed to incentivize lending to the real economy.

Read the full story here.

- Silvia Amaro

CNBC Pro: Tech stocks are tumbling but one fund manager still loves Microsoft. Here’s why

Tech stocks have tumbled this week, as investor optimism fades following disappointing results from some of the sector's biggest names.  

But fund manager Brian Arcese is standing by Microsoft, calling it a "solid long term defensive holding."

Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong