Most Asian stock market indices were trading lower on Monday (22 August) with the Shanghai Composite down 0.42% at 3,094.86 as of 6.35am GMT, ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting scheduled this week in Jackson Hole in western Wyoming, US. The Nikkei was the only index trading in the green.
Investors expect Janet Yellen, chairperson at the US central bank to hint at an increase in the country's interest rates. While the meeting that starts on Thursday (25 August) is expected to be attended by central bankers across the globe, Yellen is due to give her speech on Friday (26 August).
"Half of the market believes there will be another rate increase [in the US] either in December or January," Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Asset Management, was quoted as saying by MarketWatch. He added that the chances of a hike in September are less.
The bearish trend in the Asian markets also follows comments by Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer on Sunday (21 August). He said the US economy was near its full potential and improving. While he did not mention the timeline for a rate increase, he said: "We are close to our targets," according to Reuters.
Indices in the rest of the region were trading as follows at 6.51am GMT
Hang Seng Index
Last week (19 August), the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 18,552.57, down 0.24%, while the FTSE 100 closed at 6,858.95, down 0.15%.
Among commodities oil prices were in the red after recent data showed that there was an increase in the number of active oil rigs in the US last week. ANZ Bank said the price had slipped amid a stronger dollar. While WTI crude oil was trading lower by 1.69% at $47.70 (£36.55) a barrel, Brent crude was trading 1.85% lower at $49.94 a barrel as of 7.03am GMT.