All Asian stock market indices were trading lower on 13 May, including China's Shanghai Composite Index that was down 0.16% at 2,831.27 as of 6.18am GMT. Japan's stock market took the biggest beating amid fresh strength in its currency.
A strong yen is considered by investors as a negative factor for the Japanese economy. To add to their woes is their expectation of a stimulus package from the Bank of Japan (BOJ), which the central bank is yet to announce, Kathy Lien, managing director of foreign exchange strategy at BK Asset Management, said. "Many economists expected the BOJ to add stimulus last month, and when they passed on doing so, the expectations were pushed out to the summer," Lien added.
Going forward, a concern for investors is the potential increase in interest rates by the US Federal Reserve. A call on this is expected to be taken by the central bank in its June policy meeting.
Meanwhile, indices in the rest of Asia traded as follows on 13 May at 6.28am GMT:
|Hong Kong||Hang Seng Index||19,657.73||Down||1.29%|
Meanwhile, overnight (12 May), the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17,720.50, up 0.05%, while the FTSE 100 closed at 6,104.19, down 0.95%.
Among commodities, oil prices, which touched its highest levels in six months this week, were in the red. The upside was reached this week after the US government said the inventory of the commodity had fallen for the first time since March. Prices also got a boost after there were disruptions in oil supply amid rampant wildfires in Canada and pipeline outage in Nigeria. However, today (13 May), WTI crude oil was trading 0.79% lower at $46.33 (£32.17, €40.84) a barrel, while Brent was trading 0.58% lower at $47.80 a barrel at 6.45am GMT.