Asia-Pacific markets poised for slightly lower open ahead of Bank of Japan rate decision

In Asia

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) headquarters is seen beyond the cherry blossoms in Tokyo on March 20, 2023.

Kazuhiro Nogi | Afp | Getty Images

Asia-Pacific markets are set to open slightly lower on Friday ahead of the Bank of Japan’s rate decision.

Economists polled by Reuters expect the BOJ will maintain its benchmark interest rate at 0%-0.1%, but Nikkei reported the central bank is considering reducing its holdings of Japanese government bonds.

The BOJ currently aims to purchase about 6 trillion yen ($38.5 billion) in bonds per month, and has informed the market of plans to purchase between 4.8 trillion yen and 7 trillion yen of bonds per month.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures pointed to a weaker open for the market, with the futures contract in Chicago at 38,665 and its counterpart in Osaka at 38,570 compared to the previous close of 38,720.47.

Futures for Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 stood at 7,749, marginally lower than its last close of 7,749.7.

Hong Kong Hang Seng index futures were at 17,964, lower than the HSI’s last close of 18,112.63.

Overnight in the U.S., the S&P 500 rose to post a fourth consecutive record close as traders weighed more data showing inflation pressures may be easing.

The broad market index climbed 0.23% to end at 5,433.74, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.34% and closed at 17,667.56. Thursday marked the fourth straight closing record for both S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was the underperformer, slipping 0.17%.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit record levels this week, boosted by fresh data showing signs of inflation pressures cooling.

—CNBC’s Lisa Kailai Han and Sarah Min contributed to this report.

Read More: Asia-Pacific markets poised for slightly lower open ahead of Bank of Japan rate decision

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