China LPR Steady, Asia Mixed

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Wednesday as China kept its benchmark lending rate unchanged.

The Japanese yen traded at 114.36 per U.S. dollar, weaker than levels below 114 seen against the greenback yesterday.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng leaped 348.81 points, or 1.4%, to 26,136.02.

Shares of Chinese tech firms listed in the city surged, with Tencent up 2.1% while Alibaba soared 6.67% and Meituan jumped 2.9%.

Alibaba’s gains came amid reports that its founder Jack Ma, who has largely been out of public view for months since making comments that appeared to criticize Chinese regulators, was traveling Europe.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese real estate firms mostly slipped on Wednesday as developments surrounding debt-ridden China Evergrande Group and signs of slowing property sales weighed on investor sentiment.

China Vanke fell 0.71% while Country Garden declined 0.64%. Sunac, on the other hand, rose 0.98%. The Hang Seng Properties Index edged 0.74% higher to 30,864.92.

Evergrande shelved plans to sell a majority stake in its property services business.

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday slashed its 2021 economic growth forecast for Asia, now expecting the region to grow by 6.5% this year. That compared against the IMF’s April forecast for a 7.6% expansion.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7492 following yesterday’s climb from below $0.745.

CHINA

In China, the CSI 300 lost 12.54 points, or 0.3%, to 4,910.18.

China on Wednesday kept the one-year loan prime rate (LPR) unchanged at 3.85% while the five-year LPR was also held steady at 4.65%. That was in line with expectations from a majority of traders and analysts in a snap Reuters poll who had predicted no change in both the one-year loan prime rate as well as the five-year LPR.

Official data released Wednesday also showed growth of new home prices in China stalling in September for the first time since Feb. 2020, according to Reuters. China Beige Book’s Leland Miller told CNBC on Tuesday that China needs new growth drivers as its property sector slows down.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex ditched 12.85 points, or 0.1%, to 16,887.82.

In Korea, the Kospi index sank 15.91 points, or 0.5%, to 3,013.13

In Singapore, the Straits Times doffed 0.93 points to 3,198.08

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 gained 48.32 points, or 0.4%, to 13,114.24

In Australia, the ASX 200 jumped 38.82 points, or 0.5%, at 7,413.87