Most of the Asian equity benchmarks are trading lower in the early deals on Tuesday following the overnight losses on Wall Street and the slide in crude oil prices to its lowest in almost three months. Investors also turned cautious ahead of central bank meetings in the US and Japan this week. The US Federal Reserve's two-day monetary policy meeting is scheduled to begin later on Tuesday. The central bank is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, but the bank's accompanying statement is likely to be in focus, as investors attempt to gauge the outlook for the next rate hike. Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei share average dropped to a 1-1/2-week low as Wall Street languished and the dollar fell against the yen ahead of the US Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting, hurting exporter shares. Among the other Asian markets, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia are also in negative territory. Bucking the trend, Shanghai, Hong Kong and South Korea are higher.
Nikkei 225 declined 254.63 points or 1.53% to 16,365.66, FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI slipped 4.22 points or 0.25% to 1,664.04, Taiwan Weighted dropped 0.87 points or 0.01% to 8,990.80, Straits Times dipped 13.78 points or 0.47% to 2,916.07, and Jakarta Composite was down by 9.71 points or 0.19% to 5,211.09.
On the flip side, Hang Seng gained 198.57 points or 0.90% to 22,192.01, KOSPI Index added 11.55 points or 0.57% to 2,023.87 and Shanghai Composite was up by 13.69 points or 0.45% to 3,029.51.