BANGKOK – Asian shares were mostly lower Thursday, with Tokyo dropping more than 1% as the Japanese yen gained after the Federal Reserve said it would keep interest rates low through 2022.
Asian markets had been expected to fall after the Fed signaled a long path to recovery from the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic.
Overnight, stocks ended a bumpy day mostly lower on Wall Street, though gains for several big technology companies helped push the Nasdaq above 10,000 for the first time. It gained 0.7%, to 10,020.35.
The Fed has cut its benchmark short-term rate to near zero, making the dollar less attractive for investors, as part of a historic effort to counter the economic ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.
Investors tend to seek refuge in the yen in times of financial turmoil, but a strong yen tends to hurt Japan’s major exporters, such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Fast Retailing Co.
Toyota shares fell 1.9% while Fast Retailing's also dropped 1.9% by midday.
The dollar fell to 106.98 Japanese yen from 107.12 yen late Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.1387 from $1.1377.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 1.2% to 22,842.90 and South Korea's Kospi edged 0.2% lower to 2,190.74. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 sank 2.3% to 6,010.20.