Russia-Ukraine crisis, China’s benchmark lending rate
SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific fell in Monday trade, as investors continued to watch the situation surrounding Ukraine. In economic data, China left a benchmark lending rate unchanged.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 2% momentarily in morning trade before retracing some of those losses, last declining 0.75% while the Topix index shed 0.68%. South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.37%.
In mainland China, the Shanghai composite shed 0.34% while the Shenzhen component slipped 0.169%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 0.56%.
China on Monday held steady on a benchmark lending rate, with the one-year loan prime rate (LPR) kept unchanged at 3.7%. That was in line with predictions from all 24 financial institutions in a snap Reuters poll.
The five-year LPR was also kept unchanged at 4.6%.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 hovered fractionally higher.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.37% lower.
Investor sentiment in the region may have improved after U.S. President Joe Biden accepted “in principle” a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin if Moscow has not invaded Ukraine.
Concerns of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine have kept investors on edge, with Biden saying Friday the U.S. believes Putin has decided to carry out an attack on Ukraine “in the coming days.”
Markets in the U.S. are closed on Monday for a holiday.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.889 after seeing an earlier high of 96.151.
The Japanese yen traded at 114.96 per dollar after strengthening to around 114.8 against the greenback late last week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7196 against an earlier low of $0.7159.
Oil prices were lower in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.96% to $92.64 per barrel. U.S. crude futures slipped 0.57% to $90.55 per barrel.
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