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Asia Mostly Lower, China Rate Stays Put

Asia-Pacific markets were mostly lower on Thursday as China kept its one- and five-year loan prime rates unchanged.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index gained 62.26 points, or 0.2%, to 38,633.02.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 95.07 points, or 0.5%, to 18,335.32.

Top losers in Hong Kong include hot pot chain Haidilao which dropped 6.7%, as well as Shenzhou International Group, losing 3.4%, and Budweiser Brewing Company APAC, down 4%.

Korean stocks added some strength. Shares of HMM, the country’s largest container ship, climbed more than 3%.

Shares of Mexican-themed fast-food chain Guzman y Gomez soared as much as 39% in its market debut in Australia on Thursday. The stock closed 36% higher on the first day of trading.

Data out of New Zealand showed the economy exited a technical recession, growing 0.2% quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of the year and beating Reuters poll expectations of a 0.1% expansion. On a year-on-year basis, the economy grew 0.2%.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 declined 25.47 points, or 0.7%, to 3,503.28

The one-year loan prime rate serves as a benchmark for most corporate and household loans, while the five-year rate serves as a peg for property mortgages. The one-year LPR currently stands at 3.45%, while the five-year LPR is at 3.95%.

Earlier this week, the People’s Bank of China kept the one-year medium-term lending facility rate steady at 2.5%.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index dropped four points, or 0.1%, to 3,303.28.

In Korea, the Kospi index added 10.3 points, or 0.4%, to 2,807.63.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index rose 196.56 points, or 0.9%, to 23,406.10.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 recovered 100.62 points, or 0.9%, to 11,771.81.

In Australia, the ASX 200 moved lower 0.28 points to 7,769.44.