Asian stocks fell slightly for the first time in four days as campaign for the U.K. referendum enters its final day.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.3 percent to 129.37 as of 9:03 a.m. in Tokyo, while Japan’s Topix Index plunged 0.6 percent, after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told the U.S senate during Tuesday’s testimony that she wants the economy to be on a favourable path before hiking interest rates. A tone that most analysts said has pushed rates increase to next year.
While some economists put the probability that the U.K. will leave the European Union at about one to four, few others like Mathew Sherwood, a head of investment strategy at Perpetual Ltd. in Sydney, which manages about $21 billion have said “a lot of people think this means that exit now won’t happen, hence, markets have become somewhat complacent about Brexit risk as the outcome remains highly uncertain and the predictive power of U.K. polls is highly questionable.”
It’s been a stormy year for Asia-Pacific investors, with the regional gauge falling 14 percent at the start of the year through February, after China cut its growth outlook amid falling in oil prices and weak exports. The index later rallied 19 percent through this year’s peak in April before retreating again, the gauge is now down 1.7 percent in 2016 through Tuesday.
South Korea’s Kospi index surged 0.1 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index and New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index each plunged 0.2 percent.
Financial markets remain on edge ahead of Thursday’s referendum, amid concern a vote to leave the EU could fuel global instability.