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5 things you need to know today in Asia

OPEC meets, negative feedback loop feared after China downgrade, and Fed minutes help tee up a June hike. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.


Nine Months

West Texas Intermediate front-month futures snapped their five-session winning streak on Wednesday, a day before ministers from OPEC and other major oil-producing nations are poised to finalize a deal on production quotas. The Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee recommended a nine-month extension of the cuts, paving the way for an agreement that had previously been endorsed by Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. Shrinking U.S. crude stockpiles failed to buoy prices Wednesday as traders looked ahead to the accord.

Day of Reckoning?

After being downgraded by Moody’s for the first time since 1989, China received a light scolding from MSCI Inc., whose chief executive said there were “a lot of issues to resolve” before its onshore stocks could be included in emerging-market benchmark gauges. The warnings on debt could have perverse consequences, according to ANZ Group, which suggested it could create a negative feedback loop and prompt companies to borrow even more from domestic sources as international funding becomes more difficult to procure. Meanwhile, short-seller Carson Block of Muddy Waters LLC is continuing to bet against stocks in Hong Kong, saying he’s certain that China will face “a day of reckoning.”

Fed Plan Revealed

The minutes from the Federal Reserve’s May meeting showed most officials thought another interest rate hike would be appropriate “soon,” keeping the implied odds of tightening in June above 80 percent. The group also reached near-unanimity on an approach to balance sheet normalization that would see the central bank’s bond holdings shrink gradually, rather than ceasing reinvestments all at once, if enacted. The news failed to light a fire under the U.S. dollar or Treasury yields, both of which moved lower following this release.

Fresh Records

The S&P 500 Index closed at an all-time high Wednesday, extending its winning streak to five sessions following its worst selloff of the year. The CBOE Volatility Index, better known as the VIX, briefly slipped below 10. The Canadian dollar was the best-performing G10 currency as the Bank of Canada kept interest rates unchanged and sounded an upbeat note on first-quarter economic data.

Futures Mixed

Another day of widespread weakness in the Japanese yen isn’t giving domestic equities a lift, with Nikkei 225 futures marginally in the red as of 5:30 a.m. Tokyo time. S&P/ASX 200 futures are pointing to a higher open. Chinese financial assets largely shrugged off the effect of Moody’s downgrade Wednesday, with a late-session comeback for the Shanghai Composite Index likely aided by government intervention.

Sent by Bloomberg

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