SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Monday trade, with China slashing its benchmark lending rate for the first time in more than one-and-a-half years.
Mainland Chinese stocks were higher, with the Shanghai composite and Shenzhen component both rising about 0.1% each. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dipped 0.5%.
China on Monday announced a cut in its one-year loan prime rate from 3.85% to 3.8% — the first such move since April 2020. Majority of traders and economists in a Reuters poll had expected cuts to the loan prime rate.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan slipped 0.62% while the Topix index shed 0.83%. South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.91%.
Australian stocks declined, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 0.31%.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.56% lower.
Investors will also continue to track the spread of the omicron Covid variant, with the World Health Organization recently warning that the number of cases is doubling in 1.5 to 3 days in areas with community spread.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.641 after recently climbing from below 96.
The Japanese yen traded at 113.66 per dollar, stronger than levels above 114 seen against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7117, off levels above $0.72 seen last week.
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