World

Asia Pacific markets set for mixed open as investors await release of China’s benchmark lending rate

Stocks in Asia Pacific were set for a mixed open on Monday as investors awaited the release of China’s benchmark lending rate.

Futures tipped a higher open for Japanese stocks on Monday, with Nikkei futures traded in Chicago at 22,745 compared to the Nikkei 225’s last close at 22,696.42. 

Market watchers will be monitoring the country’s trade data for June, which is due to be out in the morning. In May, Japan’s exports had fallen at the fastest pace since the global financial crisis as U.S.-bound car shipments plunged, according to Reuters.

Shares in Australia were poised to fall at the open, with the SPI futures contract at 6,004, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 6,033.60.

In other expected developments on Monday, China is due to release its loan prime rate. A Reuters poll found that it is expected to keep its benchmark lending rate steady for the third straight month.

Over in Hong Kong, markets will be watched for reaction as the city tightened restrictions again after reported cases surged to more than 100 in 24 hours over the weekend. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the situation was “very serious and there is no sign of it coming under control.”

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.944 as it continued to decline from levels above 96 last week. 

The Japanese yen traded at 107.02 per dollar, strengthening slightly after a turbulent previous week where it traded at around levels between 106 and 107. The Australian dollar changed hands at $ 0.6998.

What’s on tap (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 7:50 a.m.: Japan’s exports and imports for June
  • 9:30 a.m.: China’s loan prime rate
  • 4:30 p.m.: Hong Kong’s unemployment rate for June
  • Earnings: Australia’s South32

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