Asia markets sink after US losses, eyes on Fed meeting

]HONG KONG] Asian markets retreated Monday following a fourth successive sell-off in New York, while investors await the Federal Reserve's next policy meeting looking for a handle on its plans for interest rates.

The dollar also remained weak after a disappointing read on the US housing market, while oil was also under pressure owing to a global supply glut.

Tokyo eased 0.41 per cent, Hong Kong shed 1.48 per cent, Shanghai gave up 1.49 per cent, Seoul was 0.30 per cent lower and Sydney was flat.

Investors took a lead from their US counterparts, who continued to cash out on Friday as data showing sales of new single-family homes fell in June and May sales were much lower than previously reported.

The news, which followed a downbeat Chinese manufacturing report, trumped forecast-busting earnings from Amazon.

The Dow fell 0.92 per cent, the S&P 500 dropped 1.07 per cent and the Nasdaq sank 1.12 per cent.

"Share markets are likely to remain volatile as we are still going through a seasonally weak period of the year for shares," Shane Oliver, Sydney-based global strategist at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., told Bloomberg News.

"Uncertainties remain regarding Chinese economic growth and a likely Fed interest rate hike lies ahead for later this year." Focus is now on the Fed's policy meeting this week. While it is not expected to raise rates, dealers are hoping for some forward guidance, with most analysts tipping a hike in either September or December.

On forex markets the dollar was at 123.71 yen early Monday, down from 123.81 yen in New York and well off the levels above 124 yen earlier Friday in Asia.

The euro changed hands at $1.0996 and 135.90 yen against $1.0977 and 135.89 yen in US trade.

Oil resumed its downtrend as demand weakens in the face of a slowing Chinese economy, weakness in Europe, oversupply and expectations of a flood of Iranian crude onto world markets.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for September delivery fell 14 cents to US$48.00 and Brent crude for September was down three cents to US$54.59 a barrel in morning Asian trade.

The weak US data lifted gold as it pushed back expectations for an early US rate rise.

Bullion fetched US$1,095.89 an ounce compared with US$1,080.17 late Friday.

The precious metal has taken a hit in recent weeks as investors pull out of the safe haven looking for better returns elsewhere.


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