Asian stocks declined on Friday, tracking losses in global markets overnight amid rising tension between Russia and the West. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell to its lowest level since April while French and German stocks lost 1 percent each after Russia introduced a list of agricultural and meat imports that it will ban in retaliation for recent sanctions.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials confirmed to NBC News that flights had begun to drop humanitarian aid to Iraqis on Thursday and denied media reports of military airstrikes in the northern part of the country. Officials also indicated that the military was ready to defend personnel and resources if threatened.
Focus in Asia will be on the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy decision as the central bank concludes a two-day meeting. No major surprises are expected but investors will be looking out for any changes in the accompanying statement on the economy.