Asian stocks down as US and China’s central banks hold meetings

<p>Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 0.9 per cent to 18,777.04.</p>

Asian stock markets were lower today (October 27th) as investors awaited the outcome of an economic planning meeting in China.

The Central Committee, China's ruling Communist Party, opened a four-day meeting yesterday that will set up an economic and social development blueprint over the next five years. It will focus on financial reforms and how to maintain growth of around seven per cent.

China has downplayed its own economic growth target ahead of the meeting to ease ongoing concerns over slowing growth. "We have never said that we would defend a certain percentage point to the death," said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in a speech Friday.

The meeting takes place as government officials are under pressure to revive confidence in the country's economy and its commitment to economic reform. 

Investors also focused on the US Federal Reserve, which starts its two-day meeting later today. Analysts believe a rate rise is not likely this year due to recent data which suggests the economic recovery remains uneven.

Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 0.9 per cent to 18,777.04 and South Korea's Kospi edged down 0.2 per cent to 2,044.65. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.1 per cent to 23,142.73 and China's Shanghai Composite advanced 0.1 per cent to 3,434.34.

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