Asian markets saw a mixed trading day as investors continued to weigh the outlook for global monetary policies. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was off 0.2%.
While the US Federal Reserve has recently signalled that it could tighten its monetary policy by increasing its interest rates in its December policy meeting, Mario Draghi, president at the European Central Bank on Friday (20 November) hinted at a move in the opposite direction, meaning its central bank could offer fresh stimulus in its policy meeting, which too is scheduled in December.
He said "[We] will do what we must to raise inflation as quickly as possible." This had investors betting on additional stimulus that could either be from expanding the bank's asset-purchase programme or by reducing bank deposit rates further into negative territory.
Bank of Japan too is expected to step up their efforts to boost economic growth. It was recently reported that the Japanese economy deteriorated more severely than expected in the third quarter, leading to a second consecutive three-month decline, fulfilling the technical definition of a recession.
China's Shanghai Composite Index was trading flat at 3,618.62, down 0.33% as Hong Kong's Hang Seng too was down by 0.54% at 22,631.95.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.39% at 5,276.40. The boost was attributed to supermarket giant Woolworths, whose stock price rose as much as 3.9% after local media reported that private equity firms, TPG and the Blackstone Group were considering a joint bid for its discount department store - Big W. This also lifted the entire consumer staples sector in the country.
While Korea's Kospi was 0.69% higher at 2,003.91, India's BSE was trading flat at 25,899.48, up 0.12%. Japanese markets were closed for a public holiday today (23 November).
In commodities, oil that has been witnessing a decline in its prices due to supply far exceeding demand, continued to fall as WTI Crude Oil was trading at $40.67 a barrel, down 2.94% and Brent was trading lower by 1.95% at $43.79 a barrel.