Asian shares take a hit as Fed stays the course on tapering

Asian shares fell on Friday, in wake of fears about the impact of the Federal Reserve's tapering of its stimulus programme on emerging markets.

Trading volumes were down due to the Chinese New Year. Japan's Nikkei share average declined 0.6 per cent after a resurgent yen hit exporter shares.

Investors were initially optimistic after Japan's core consumer inflation rose at the most rapid rate in five years in December, with positive data on both factory output and the job market.

However, the positive news was tempered somewhat as market participants who had hoped for more easing from the Bank of Japan (BoJ) were left disappointed. The yen's recovery later on Friday afternoon showed the currency still has some appeal as a safe-haven.

The dollar dropped by 0.2 per cent against the yen to 102.48 yen after falling as low as 102.36 yen. The dollar remained above the seven-week low of 101.77 yen seen on Monday.

The positive US data came as a welcome relief to markets agitated over emerging economies.
Central banks in several emerging market economies, including Turkey, South Africa and India, have hiked interest rates this week in an effort to stem the selloff of their currencies.

The Fed decided this week to continue its stimulus withdrawal and cut its bond purchases for a second time, to $65bn (£39.5bn) per month from $75bn (£42.5bn).