Asian markets steady at start of ‘Big Wednesday’

Asia kicked off a huge day for global markets as investors await central bank announcements from Japan and the United States on what has been dubbed “Big Wednesday”, with concerns that the years of cheap cash could be numbered.

The Bank of Japan is due to wrap up its policy meeting first but, despite a string of weak readings on the country s economy, traders are uncertain whether officials will unveil any fresh stimulus measures.

Also Wednesday, the BoJ plans to release an unprecedented report card on its monetary policy, with more than three years of easing unable to kickstart growth or inflation.

“We know that Japan spectacularly failed to achieve its goals when it cut into negative rates in January, and that s what caused this comprehensive review ,” Greg McKenna, chief market analyst at FX and CFD provider AxiTrader, said.

Some experts think policymakers will expand its massive asset-buying scheme or cut interest rates deeper into negative territory.

But there are fears it is running out of government bonds that it can buy, while the first negative rate move was seen as a last throw of the dice by a desperate bank administration.

“There s some sort of additional measures likely coming from the BoJ and it would be a disappointment if there s none,” Chris Green, Auckland-based director of economics and strategy at First NZ Capital Group, told Bloomberg News.

Later in the day the Federal Reserve will wind up its own policy meeting, which analysts are calling the biggest for years.

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