Bank of Japan, interest rates, currencies, oil

SINGAPORE — Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed on Thursday as investors anticipate the Bank of Japan’s rate decision.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was roughly flat.

Shares of Rio Tinto fell 2.59% after the company announced it would pay the Australian tax office an additional 613 million Australian dollars ($422 million) in tax following a dispute. Rio previously paid A$378 million to the ATO.

The South Korean Kospi gained 0.38% and the Kosdaq rose 0.32%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell almost 1%, while mainland China markets fell.

The Shanghai Composite fell 0.41% and the Shenzhen Component fell 0.18%.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan was slightly lower while the Topix index lost 0.29%.

MSCI’s broadest Asia-Pacific non-Japan equity index lost 0.28%.

Bank of Japan decision pending

The Bank of Japan is expected to keep rates ultra-low on Thursday, according to a Reuters poll.

Takuji Okubo, managing director of Japan Macro Advisors, said a rate hike is fairly unlikely, but acknowledged there were concerns about the decline in the value of the yen.

However, I think there are other ways, other policies – other than the monetary policy of the Bank of Japan – [that] can help ease the pain of yen weakness,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Thursday.[The] The Japanese government can intervene directly in the exchange rate market to help support the yen.”

The Japanese yen changed hands at 138.36 to the dollar ahead of the decision.

The currency has weakened significantly in recent months as Japan’s accommodative monetary policy diverges from that of other countries.

Central banks in the region and around the world have raised interest rates in an effort to control inflation. The European Central Bank is expected to raise rates later Thursday.

Japan’s latest consumer price index report showed prices rose 2.1% from a year earlier, just above the central bank’s target.

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In corporate news, Hyundai Motor will release its second-quarter results on Thursday.

Overnight in the US, major averages hit their highest points since early June.

The Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.58% to 11,897.65 and the S&P 500 gained 0.59% to 3,959.90. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 47.79 points, or 0.15%, to 31,874.84 after struggling for direction on the session.

Currencies and oil

The The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 106.950, lower than last week’s levels.

The Australian dollar was at $0.6890, slightly lower at the start of the week.

Oil futures fell in Asian trading. U.S. crude fell 0.91% to $98.97 a barrel, while Brent crude fell 0.76% to $106.11 a barrel.

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