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Australia stocks slide 2%; Asian markets drop as investors weigh Fed hike – CNBC

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

An electronic board displays stock information at the Australian Securities Exchange, operated by ASX Ltd., in Sydney, Australia, on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018.
Brendon Thorne | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Asia-Pacific shares fell on Friday as investors continue to weigh the Federal Reserve’s aggressive stance.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 2.28% on its return to trade after a holiday on Thursday. South Korea’s Kospi dipped 1.82% and the Kosdaq declined 2.49%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 0.85%. Mainland China stocks were also lower, with the Shanghai Composite shedding 1.08% and the Shenzhen Component losing 1.769%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 1.42%. Japan markets were closed for a holiday Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, inflation in Malaysia came in at 4.7% for August, in line with expectations. Singapore is also slated to report August’s consumer price index data.

On Wall Street overnight, stocks fell for a third consecutive day over recession fears following the Fed’s latest 75-basis-point rate hike.

The S&P 500 was 0.8% lower at 3,757.99, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 1.4% to 11,066.81. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 107.10 points, or 0.3%, to 30,076.68.

— CNBC’s Samantha Subin and Sarah Min contributed to this report.

Singapore, Malaysia inflation for August expected to accelerate

Core inflation in Singapore is expected to rise to 5% in August from a year ago, up from 4.8% in July, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

Headline inflation is set to increase to 7.2%, compared with July’s 7% print.

In neighboring Malaysia, the consumer price index for August is predicted to rise to 4.7%, a faster pace than July’s 4.4%, another Reuters poll forecasts.

— Abigail Ng

Nomura downgrades China’s 2023 growth outlook

Nomura downgraded its forecast for China’s 2023 annual growth to 4.3% from 5.1%.

Analysts cited a potentially prolonged Covid-zero policy or a spike in the nation’s infections after a possible reopening in March.

The latest downgrade comes after Goldman Sachs lowered its outlook earlier this week to 4.5% from 5.3%.

William Ma of Grow Investment Group told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” he’s optimistic on policy changes he sees coming after the People’s Party Congress in mid-October.

—Jihye Lee

CNBC Pro: Is it time to buy Treasurys? Here’s how to allocate your portfolio, according to the pros

Australia’s S&P Global flash PMI shows growth in private sector

Australia’s flash manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose slightly to 53.9 in September from 53.8 in August, according to data from S&P Global.

The flash services PMI ticked higher to 50.4 in September, compared with 50.2 in August.

“The latest survey data indicated that the manufacturing sector was the primary driver of Australia’s private sector growth during September,” S&P Global wrote in a release.

“The service sector, though expanding more quickly than in August, saw activity rise only marginally with activity and new business growth rates remaining below the historical averages,” it said.

— Abigail Ng

Japanese yen hovers around 142 against the U.S dollar

The Japanese yen traded at 142.33 against the greenback in Asia’s morning the day after Japanese authorities said they intervened in the currency market for the first time since 1998.

The yen strengthened to 140-levels before heading back to 142-levels.

“In our view, the Ministry of Finance [in Japan] needs to convince the U.S. Treasury to join the intervention,” Joseph Capurso of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia wrote in a Friday note, adding solo intervention by Japan “fails within a few weeks.”

— Abigail Ng

CNBC Pro: Back hedge funds to outperform equities and bonds this year, UBS says

As both stocks and bond prices fall simultaneously, hedge funds have broadly outperformed and are “well placed to navigate current market volatility,” according to a new report by UBS.

As market volatility persists, the Swiss bank shared the types of hedge funds it prefers.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Ganesh Rao

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