Asia stocks rise; China keeps benchmark lending rate unchanged

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SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific rose in Monday morning trade as China left its benchmark lending rate unchanged over the weekend.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 1.03% in early trade, with shares of conglomerate Softbank Group surging more than 2%. The Topix index gained 0.94%. South Korea’s Kospi also traded 0.25% higher.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia were little changed in morning trade as the S&P/ASX 200 was largely flat.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.11% higher.

China kept the one-year loan prime rate (LPR) unchanged at 3.85%, largely in line with expectations of traders and analysts in a Reuters snap poll. The five-year LPR was also kept steady at 4.65%.
The LPR is a lending reference rate set monthly by 18 banks.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.29 after a recent decline from above 90.9.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.52 per dollar, stronger than levels above 106 against the greenback seen in the middle of last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7881, the highest since March 2018, after a jump late last week from around $0.776.

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