Asian stocks drift ahead of ECB rate cut

<p>Investors traded cautiously on Asian stock markets on Thursday, as the ECB is expected to cut its deposit rate below zero.</p>

Investors traded cautiously on Asian stock markets today (June 5th), as they awaited confirmation of new stimulus from the European Central Bank (ECB) later the same day.

The institution is expected to cut its deposit rate below zero and it is likely this will have a knock-on impact on global markets.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng dipped 0.09 per cent, China’s Shanghai Composite inched up 0.37 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei 225 ended up 0.08 per cent.

The yen retreated from the previous session’s one-month low of 102.78 against the US dollar, to trade at ¥102.44 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.15 per cent lower.

Economists in a Reuters poll expected the ECB to cut its main refinancing rate to 0.1 per cent from 0.25 per cent and cut its overnight deposit rate to -0.10 per cent from zero to counter low levels of inflation and sluggish growth.

It may also launch a loan programme to banks to encourage lending, with an announcement due later today.

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