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Shares in the Asia-Pacific region fell on Friday, as investors await the closely watched February nonfarm payrolls report from the US which could further determine the direction of Federal Reserve rate hikes ahead.

In Australia is S&P/ASX 200 opened with heavy losses, falling 1.5% sales continue in the US. In South Korea, the Kospi fell 1.18% and the Kosdaq fell 1.8% as the economy’s current account in January fell into deficit for the first time since August 2022.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 0.83% and the Topix lost 0.93% as the Bank of Japan is widely expected to make no changes to its ultra-dovish monetary policy and keep interest rates at -0.1%, according to a Reuters poll.

Central Bank Governor Haruhiko Kuroda is chairing his final policy meeting before his term ends on April 8.

The Japanese yen slightly weakened to 136.16 against the US dollar while the return on 10-year Japanese government bond was at 0.505%, trading above the central bank’s tolerance range.

In Hong Kong, Hang Seng Futures also pointed to a lower open, at 19,672 against the index’s last close of 19,925.74.

Overnight at Wall Streetstock fell last Thursday, with the S&P 500 closing 1.8% lower as bank stocks succumbed to the pressure. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed more than 500 points as investors braced for a key payrolls report on Friday that could shape the direction of interest rates.

— CNBC’s Samantha Subin, Hakyung Kim contributed to this report