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Stock markets in Asia, US tumble after biggest interest rate hike in 22 yrs

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London, May 6 (IANS) Stock markets in Asia and America have tumbled after the US Federal Reserve this week announced the biggest interest rate hike in 22 years.

The sell-off comes as worries intensified over how rising prices, and the Federal Reserve’s steps to rein them in, will affect economic growth, the BBC said in a report.

Major share indexes in Hong Kong and mainland China dropped on Friday in Asia. That came after shares in New York fell sharply, led by technology stocks.

Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng index fell by 3.6 per cent, while shares on the Shanghai Stock Exchange were down by 2.3 per cent and Australia’s ASX 200 was 2.4 per cent lower, BBC reported.

Those falls followed the Dow index, which includes big names such as Apple and Nike, sliding on Thursday by more than 1,000 points to end 3.1 per cent lower.

The wider S&P 500 fell 3.6 per cent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq plummeted by almost 5 per cent.

The losses wiped out the gains the markets had enjoyed on Wednesday, after the Federal Reserve announced it was raising its benchmark rate by half a percentage point to 0.75 per cent to 1 per cent.

That move, which will make borrowing more expensive, had been expected.

Analysts said investors were relieved that the bank had not moved even more aggressively, with Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell saying that a bigger rate hike was not under “active consideration”.

But Thursday’s losses suggested that worries remain about whether the Fed will be able to slow economic activity enough to cool price increases without tipping the economy into recession – defined as the economy getting smaller for two consecutive quarters, the BBC reported.

Rising prices are also being driven by factors outside the central bank’s control, such as spiking energy prices due to the war in Ukraine.

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