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This article is more than 1 month old.

Asian stocks fall ahead of US inflation data

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MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.4 percent and Japan's Nikkei fell 0.5 percent.

Asian stocks fall ahead of US inflation data
Asian markets fell on Friday as traders stayed away from riskier assets amid renewed concerns about COVID-19. Ahead of key US inflation data that could set direction on Federal Reserve rates, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.4 percent and Japan's Nikkei fell 0.5 percent.
Overnight the S&P 500 lost 0.72 percent and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.71 percent, while S&P 500 futures rose 0.14 percent in Asian hours.
Shares and risk-friendly currencies had performed well earlier in the week, with MSCI's regional benchmark posting its best day in two months on Tuesday.
"Then, as we got towards the end of the week the fact that Europe was much more clearly moving into a sort of lockdown light and cases are going up, and COVID-19 case numbers in the U.S. are starting to ratchet up flipped things a little bit," Reuters quoted as saying Rob Carnell, head of research Asia Pacific at ING.
"Also there is a slight sense of 'let's not have too much risk on the table for the weekend'. Of course, there is CPI out in the U.S. - but I think we've all woken up to the fact that there is inflation in the U.S. now," he added.
US consumer price index (CPI) for November is due later Friday and a Reuters poll of economists expect it to have risen 6.8 percent year-on-year, overtaking a 6.2 percent increase in October, which was the fastest gain in 31 years.
China Evergrande Group shares lost 1.5 percent after Fitch downgraded it to restricted default status.
The Hong Kong benchmark lost 0.24 percent but global markets have been much less concerned by the latest development in the long running Evergrande saga than they were a few months ago.
"This issue has been going on for two and a half months now, and markets don't seem to be as fussed because a default on Evergrande's offshore debt has seemed highly likely," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital.
Also in China, the central bank on Thursday directed financial institutions to hold more foreign exchange in reserve for a second time this year, which markets interpreted as an attempt to slow down a recent rapid appreciation of the yuan.
The yuan lost nearly half a percent in offshore trade on Thursday, and weakened further Friday to 6.385.
Other currency moves were in line with the broad risk off mood. The dollar held firm, the euro, which dropped 0.4% overnight stayed under pressure, while the Aussie dollar wobbled lower.
US Treasury yields fell a little overnight with benchmark 10-year Treasury notes last at 1.4888 percent.
Oil prices also fell. US crude dropped 0.5 percent to $70.56 a barrel. Brent crude fell 0.47 percent to $74.08, while gold, however, edged higher on the worries. The spot price rose 0.2% to $1777.8 an ounce.
-With agency inputs
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