Asian markets stumbled at the beginning of the week after a US jobs report showed a strong economy, reducing hopes for a cut in interest rates. The report also dashed expectations that the Federal Reserve would normalize monetary policy soon. Although the 2023 ended well, with hopes for a reduction in interest rates, the release of the Fed’s December meeting minutes showed that decision-makers wanted to keep rates high to control prices. Now, investors are worried because the central bank has signaled 75 basis points of cuts this year, but the market has priced in as much as 150 points, leaving them open to disappointment. While the US stock indexes ended slightly higher last week, Asian markets were generally down on Monday. Hong Kong and Shanghai were particularly affected. Attention is now turning to the release of US consumer price figures later in the week. The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index was down 2.1 percent, the Shanghai Composite was down 1.4 percent, and the Tokyo Nikkei 225 was closed for a holiday. The dollar was down against the yen, the euro was up against the dollar, and the pound was down against the dollar. Oil prices also fell.
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