© Reuters.

Investing.com – Asian markets were mostly lower in morning trade on Thursday. Although not a major directional driver, the U.S. Federal Reserve’s July 30-31 meeting released overnight received some focus.

The Minutes showed that officials saw the central bank’s rate cut last month as measures taken amid the trade war with China and low inflation. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will give a speech on Friday.

“What I think we are going to get out of Jackson Hole is a shift towards the Fed getting more flexibility and optionality,” Jack McIntyre, fixed-income portfolio manager at Brandywine Global Investment Management LLC, told Bloomberg. “What I mean by that is maybe sending a message to the market that they’re open to, hey, this might be a more prolonged rate-cutting cycle.”

In Asia, the Hang Seng Index declined 0.9%. Hong Kong stocks are now set to record their worst quarter their worst quarter since 2015 as pro-democracy protests in the city intensified this month.

China’s Shanghai Composite and the t were down 0.2% and 0.1%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped on weak in August.

South Korea’s KOSPI was down 0.4%. Index heavyweights Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix fell 1.2% and 1.7% respectively. The Bank of Korea warned that export curbs imposed by Japan could potentially have a big impact on the country’s economy.

“Effects from Japan’s export curbs are so far limited, but if the situation worsens, the impact could be bigger than what pricing regulations such as a tariff increase would have, ” the central bank said on Thursday, adding that semiconductor exports will likely continue to fall this year.

Down under, Australia’s ASX 200 gained 0.4%.

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