Asian markets were trading flat in the morning trade on Friday as investors grappled with the consequences of a recent change in interest rate outlook at the US Federal Reserve.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 0.07%, the Shanghai composite declined more than 0.43%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.21%, and the Kospi was also trading 0.18% lower.
The Fed on Wednesday said it does not expect to raise rates at all in 2019. The central bank had forecast at least two rate hikes for this year back in December. The Fed added that it expects to end its balance-sheet reduction process by the end of September.
On the international front, the US central bank did, however, lower its economic growth forecast for 2019, raising concerns over a possible slowdown in the economy.
Crude oil held near 2019 highs led by a broad risk-on mood, OPEC production cuts and US sanctions on key producers Iran and Venezuela. US crude traded flat at $59.98 a barrel.