Asian markets were largely higher on Thursday with notable exceptions, after Philippines' GDP surged 6.3% in fourth quarter and Australia's import prices fell only 0.3% q/q, compared to analysts' expectations of a 0.8% slump. Other select data wasn't so positive, as Japan's retail sales dropped 1.1% y/y in December, same as November but widely missing the forecasts of a 0.1% rise.
Australian shares muscled up 0.60%, while Korea's KOSPI gained 0.30%. Hong Kong's shares climbed nearly 0.70%, but Japan's Nikkei gave up 0.14%, affected by a tumble in Wall Street. China's stocks dipped half a percent.
Oil prices jumped more than four percent yesterday on hopes of collaboration between Russia and OPEC to cut production output in order to ease one of the biggest oversupply gluts in history. Prices however went back lower today, with Brent futures sliding 30 cents, or 0.94% to $32.79 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures skidded 40 cents, or 1.30% to trade at $31.88 a barrel.
Wall Street closed lower again, after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged but signaled its commitment to raise them multiple times this year, contrary to what investors hoped for amid a global slowdown and a savage wave of selling across equity and commodity markets.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average index fell 222 points, or 1.38% to 15,944, while the NASDAQ Composite closed down nearly a hundred points, or 2.18% at 4,468. S&P 500 lost 20 points, or 1.09% to close at 1,882.
U.S. dollar was largely flat, inching up 0.06% against a basket of rival currencies to 99.09. The New Zealand dollar slumped half a cent versus the greenback after the central bank said that inflation pressures were too weak, signaling its readiness to cut inter