Asia markets drop, with Shanghai down 1.4% – CNBC

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Asia markets lost ground on Monday across the board, with many traders likely taking to the sidelines ahead of several central bank decisions this week.

The Federal Reserve, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and the Bank of Japan are all in play this week, noted Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA Asia Pacific. “While most of the focus will center on possible policy action from the BOJ, traders will be looking for forward guidance from both the Fed and RBNZ. It is likely we are in for another very bumpy ride this week,” he said.

The Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 was down 0.76 percent after flirting with positive territory briefly. Last week, the index added 4.3 percent. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi was down 0.17 percent. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was off 0.63 percent.

Chinese mainland markets were lower, with the Shanghai composite shedding 1.35 percent and the Shenzhen composite off by 1.6 percent.

Markets in Australia and New Zealand are closed for ANZAC day public holiday on Monday.

Despite shares’ turn lower, most major markets have recovered from the steep sell-off seen in January. Most indexes across Asia have gained over the past three months, although many are still down for the year-to-date.

Richard Titherington from JPMorgan Asset Management told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday that people are a lot less pessimistic about emerging markets today than they were at the end of January, contributing to the rally.

“We have seen a nice rally,” he said. “Where we go from here is really decided by two things: where you see the dollar and where do you see the outlook for the Chinese economy.”

In recent months, the dollar index, which measures the dollar against a basket of currencies, eased from as high as 99.829 to lows of 93.627 as the U.S. Federal Reserve stayed pat on interest rates since its last hike in December. On the other hand, recent data coming out of Beijing have indicated a slight uptick in China as it undergoes a re-balancing from a manufacturing-intensive to service-oriented economy.

“If you think the dollar is going to continue to weaken, that’s very positive for emerging markets,” according to Titherington. “If you think China is stabilizing, that supports the story. If, on the other hand, you are pessimistic about China and you are a dollar bull, then it’s probably time to be more cautious about emerging markets.”

Asia markets drop, with Shanghai down 1.4% – CNBC}