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Japan stocks set to trade lower as IMF downgrades growth forecast for Asia Pacific

SINGAPORE — Shares in Japan were set to trade lower at the open, as the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday downgraded its growth forecast for Asia-Pacific.

Futures pointed to a lower open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 23,575 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 23,550. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 23,639.46.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia fell in early trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 down about 1%.

Shares of ANA Holdings will be monitored following reports that the airline is set to post multi-billion dollar losses for the fiscal year to March.

The IMF on Wednesday downgraded its forecast for Asia-Pacific to -2.2% in 2020 — “the worst outcome for this region in living memory.”

“Our latest Regional Economic Outlook shows that a recovery started in the third quarter, but growth engines are not all firing with the same power across countries, leading to a multispeed recovery,” Jonathan D. Ostry, acting director of the Asia and Pacific Department at the IMF, wrote in a blog post.

Overnight stateside, stocks dipped as investors continued to watched for developments in U.S. coronavirus stimulus negotiations. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 97.97 points, or 0.4%, to closwe at 28,210.82. The S&P 500 declined 0.2% to finish its trading day at 3,435.56 while the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.3% to close at 11,484.69.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 92.611 after slipping from levels above 93.2 earlier this week,

The Japanese yen traded at 104.61 per dollar following a steep strengthening from levels above 105 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7113 after yesterday’s rise from below $0.71.


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