Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index retreating from its highest in two months, as energy shares led losses and investors awaited policy decisions by the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan later in the week.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.1 percent to 136.31 as of 9:02 a.m. in Tokyo after closing Monday at the highest since Aug. 18. The decisions on monetary policy come after China cut its lending rate last week and European officials signaled a willingness to add stimulus to combat flagging growth. The odds the Fed will raise rates at the end of their two-day policy meeting on Wednesday are slim, with traders seeing a 6 percent chance. Economists are divided on whether the BOJ will supplement already unprecedented easing on Friday.
Japan’s Topix index slipped 0.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index fell 0.2 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed. New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index added 0.5 percent. Markets in China and Hong Kong have yet to start trading.
The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.5 percent on Monday after the central bank cut interest rates for a sixth time in a year as the nation’s leaders gather this week to map out a five-year plan for the world’s second-largest economy. The Shanghai gauge has rebounded 17 percent from this year’s low on Aug. 26 as the government took measures to stabilize the stock market after a $5 trillion rout and policy makers introduced more measures to boost growth amid the slowest economic expansion in a quarter of a century.