Stock market today: Asian shares sink as cenral banks crank interest rates still higher

Bangkok, June 23 (BNA): Asian stocks fell sharply on Friday after several central banks around the world raised interest rates in their fight against inflation.

Hong Kong and Tokyo fell about 2% and most other regional markets fell. US futures and oil prices also fell, according to the Associated Press.

Japan reported that its inflation rate was higher than expected, adding to expectations that the central bank may adjust its policies to reflect upward price pressures, which have pushed the dollar’s value against the yen sharply higher.

The Bank of Japan has kept its benchmark interest rate at minus 0.1% for a decade as policymakers maintain cheap credit to encourage more investment and spending.

The government reported that the core inflation rate, excluding volatile energy and food prices, was 3.2% in May, above the official target of 2%.

The dollar traded at 143.11 yen, up from 143.10 yen, near the highest level since November. A weaker Japanese yen increases costs for Japanese businesses and consumers given the country’s heavy dependence on imports.

In other trading on Friday, the price of US crude oil fell 96 cents to $68.55 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It shed $3.02 to $69.51 on Thursday.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, lost 96 cents to $73.39 a barrel. The euro was trading at $1.0933, down from $1.0960.

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