All Asian stock market indices were trading lower on 24 May, including the Shanghai Composite Index that was down 1.01% at 2,814.80 as of 6.03 am GMT. This followed a decline in oil prices, while investors remained cautious amid the recent hawkish comments from the US Federal Reserve that suggested an increase in interest rates as early as June.
Investors are said to be looking forward to a speech by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, which is scheduled on 27 May, in order to get some clues with regards to this potential rate increase. Jung Sung-yoon, a foreign exchange analyst at Hyundai Futures, said: "The market seems to be taking a cautious stance ahead of the Fed Chair Janet Yellen's speech later this week."
Alex Wijaya, a senior sales trader at CMC Markets, added: "People are being more nimble at the moment. They're less likely taking long-term positions" before the June Fed policy meeting concludes. "Most traders can't really predict what will be the result of that," Wijaya added.
Indices in rest of Asia traded as follows on 24 May at 6.11am GMT:
|Hong Kong||Hang Seng Index||19,739.23||Down||0.35%|
Overnight (23 May), the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17,492.93, down 0.05%, while the FTSE 100 closed at 6,136.43, down 0.32%.
Among commodities, oil prices had recently touched its 7-month highs over supply concerns amid disruptions caused by the wildfire in Canada. However, today (24 May), oil prices were trading lower after these concerns ended and resulted in renewed expectations that global oil supplies will outpace demand.
"The wildfires in Canada appear to be under control now thanks to cooler temperatures and rainfall in recent days. The evacuation orders have been lifted and oil workers can return," Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst at Forex.com and City Index, said. Today, WTI crude oil was trading 0.50% lower at $47.84 (£33.02, €42.65) a barrel, while Brent was trading 0.58% lower at $48.07 a barrel at 6.23am GMT.