Asian markets barring Japan trade lower ahead of Fed policy meeting
Shanghai Composite Index and Hong Kong's Hang Seng decline. Reuters

Barring Japan, Asian markets were bearish on 28 October (Wednesday) as investors remained cautious over the outcome of the US Federal Reserve's policy meeting that could be announced later in the day. The Nikkei 225 was up 0.67% at 18,903.02, mainly on expectations that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) could introduce further stimulus measures at its policy meeting to be held later this week.

Market players are eagerly looking forward to the Fed meeting. In September, it was reported that the Fed could postpone its decision to hike interest rates to the end of the year to counter the economic slowdown in the US.

Kathy Lien, director of FX strategy for BK Asset Management, said: "No one expects the Federal Reserve to hike on Wednesday and we would not be surprised if they refrained from providing any clear signal about their intention to raise interest rates before the end of the year." Oxford Economics said: "There is a strong case for more QE at the 30 October meeting; the economy is stagnating and the target measure of inflation is below zero."

Reflecting the general mood of the market, the Shanghai Composite Index was down 1.86% at 3,370.56 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.71% at 22,981.70. India's BSE declined 0.56% at 27,101.62, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was trading down 0.21% at 5,335.20 and South Korea's KOSPI was lower by 0.10% at 2,042.51.

Crude prices which were mostly down last week amidst worries over the US increasing its crude stockpiles, continued to trade lower, with US WTI Crude oil down 1.81% at $43.20 a barrel; Brent was down 1.56% at $46.81 a barrel.

Jeff Powell, chief investment officer at Polaris Greystone Financial, blamed OPEC's failure to cut production as the primary reason for the continuous decline in oil prices. "You've also seen a lot of efficiencies created as oil has dropped within the fracking segment of the US market, so a lot of the production that's going on in the US really hasn't slowed down even though you have seen this material drop in oil price."