TOKYO, JAPAN – DECEMBER 23, 2012: Pedestrians cross at Shibuya Crossing. It is one of the world’s most famous scramble crosswalks.

Most Asia Pacific stocks started the day an inch lower on Wednesday ahead of the Fed’s decision later in the day. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index slightly edged lower after strong imports data released by the Ministry of Finance. Australia’s ASX 200 index inched a bit higher while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped. Mainland Chinese stocks the Shanghai Composite and Shenzhen Component also dropped.

Japan’s Economic Concerns

The Nikkei 225 index was dragged by weak exports data released on Wednesday. According to Japan’s Ministry of Finance, exports in May jumped 49.6% YoY from the previous 38% in April. Despite being the sharpest rise in four years, the exports were weaker than the estimated 51.3% forecast.

The surge in the exports was boosted by the strong demand for cars and auto parts. Exports of goods went up to ¥6.26 trillion in May. This was the fastest growth rate since April 1980. Exports have been on a 3 consecutive month uptrend.

Exports of cars went up by 135.5% while that of auto parts jumped 139.1% compared to last year. This was boosted by the strong demand for auto-related products especially from the United States.

The Nikkei 225 index was however boosted by strong imports data in Japan. The country’s imports have been on an uptrend for four consecutive months. Japan imports jumped 27.9% YoY in May surpassing the 26.6% estimated forecast.

The imports of goods rose to ¥6.45 trillion in the same month. The imports were boosted by the recovery of domestic consumption and rebound in crude oil prices. With the easing of lockdown restrictions and steady vaccination rollout, domestic consumption largely increased.

Investors are on tenterhooks as they digest the Fed’s bullish signal towards the tapering of the monetary policy. The Fed decision is yet to be announced later Wednesday. Fed officials believe that the current rise in inflation in the US will be fleeting as the economy faces recovery.

Nikkei 225 Performers

The bets performer in the Nikkei 225 index was AGC. The company gained 4.66% in its stock earnings. Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha gained 4.38% while Impex Corp gained 4.32%. CyberAgent Inc was also among the top performers with 3.27% worth of gains.

GS Yuasa Corp was the worst performer in the index. The firm dropped more than 3.81% in its stock prices. Unitika fell by 3.64% while DeNA Co decline by 2.59%.

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