Tokyo: Asian shares slipped and global bonds came under pressure on Friday after the European Central Bank left markets in the dark on what future easing steps it may take, while oil prices jumped on an unexpected drawdown in U.S. stockpile.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.4 percent from Thursday’s 13-month high, mirroring the slide in the MSCI’s all-country world index.
Japan’s Nikkei slipped 0.2 percent, erasing gains after reports North Korea may have conducted a nuclear test.
Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 lost 0.22 percent, weighed by a 2.6 percent fall in Apple on disappointment over its latest iPhone, though gains in energy shares offset losses in most other sectors.
In Europe, German shares took the brunt of the ECB let-down but shares in Southern Europe gained.
ECB President Mario Draghi, speaking after the central bank kept its policy on hold as expected, said the bank was looking at options to enable it to pursue the money-printing program, but maintained the March end-date for the plan.
That disappointed investors who were looking for more immediate action, including an extension or expansion of the current plan, or at a least clearer hints of future actions.
Global bond markets took a hit with the 10-year German Bund yield rising to minus 0.061 percent from minus 0.118 percent.
U.S. bond yields jumped, with the 30-year bond yield rising to one-month highs of 2.328 percent.
With the ECB out of the way, the focus will shift back to the Fed’s policy meeting later this month.
“A rate hike in September is highly unlikely,” said Hiroko Iwaki, senior bond strategist at Mizuho Securities.
“But unless the Fed sends a message, it will be difficult for them to make the markets price in a rate hike by the end of year. So they could say something like they will consider a hike in coming months,” she said.
In the currency market, the euro jumped to $1.1328, its highest since Aug. 26, following the ECB meeting before giving up most of its gains to stabilise around $1.1269.
The rise in U.S. bond yields widened the yield gap between the U.S. and Japan and lifted the dollar against the yen to 102.31 yen from around 101.60.
The uptick in bond yields was also partly driven by a four-percent surge in oil prices on Thursday to two-week highs, after slump in U.S. Gulf Coast imports to a record low led to surprisingly huge drawdown in U.S. crude stocks.
Brent rose to as high as $50.14 per barrel on Thursday and last stood at $49.63, down 0.7 percent from Thursday’s close but still up almost 6 percent so far this week.
In Asia, Chinese inflation data is a key focus, a day after data showed the country’s imports unexpectedly rose in August for the first time in nearly two years, boosted by coal and other commodities.