Asian stock markets declined Wednesday after details from the Federal Reserve's most recent policy meeting suggest that the central bank was backing away from further monetary easing.
“There was little sentiment for further policy accommodation in the minutes. In recent speeches, Chairman Bernanke cautioned against any premature firming of monetary policy and indicated that he would not rule out further policy accommodation if needed,” a note from Credit Agricole said.
However, the minutes noted that only “a couple” of members believed that additional stimulus might be needed if the economy lost momentum or inflation remained too low for too long.
Japanese stocks plunged, with benchmark Nikkei Stock Average falling below psychologically important level 10,000. Nikkei plunged 1.36 percent or 136.33 points to 9,914.06.
Resource-linked companies’ shares plunged as commodity futures retreated after the US central bank dashed hopes of further economic stimulus. Japan Steel Works Ltd plunged 3.91 percent and Pacific Metals Co declined 2.84 percent, while Sumitomo Metal Mining fell 2.84 percent.
Fast Retailing shares plunged 4.08 percent despite reporting a 5.1 percent year-on-year growth in sales for March.
South Korean shares fell with benchmark Seoul Composite declining 1.06 percent or 21.71 points to 2,027.57.
SK Telecom Co Ltd plunged 3.16 percent after POSCO sold 321 billion won ($286.1 million) worth of shares in the company at a discount from Tuesday's close, Reuters reported.
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co declined 4.13 percent and S-Oil Corp fell 4.04 percent, while Hyundai Motor gained 1.37 percent after strong US sales for March released overnight.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and Chinese Shanghai were shut for a public holiday.