SINGAPORE – Asia-Pacific equities looked lower on Monday as investors look forward to the release of China’s latest benchmark lending rate.
Futures pointed to a slightly lower opening for Japanese equities. The Nikkei futures contract in Osaka was at 25,960, against the Nikkei 225’s last closing at 25,963.
In Australia, the SPI futures contract was at 6,345, compared to the last close of the S & P / ASX 200 at 6,474.80.
China’s latest one-year and five-year prime interest rates on loans will be announced Monday morning. A large majority of respondents in a Reuters snap poll predict no change in either the one-year or the five-year LPRs.
Investors will also monitor Alibaba shares in Hong Kong after Reuters on Friday reported that China’s central bank has accepted Alibaba’s affiliated Ant Group’s application to form a financial holding company, reviving hopes of a potential public listing for Ant.
The markets in the US are closed on Monday due to a public holiday. Last week, the S&P 500 had its worst week since 2020, when investors struggled with the prospect of a potential recession ahead, as major central banks such as the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates to fight inflation.
The US dollar index, which follows the dollar against a basket of its peers, stood at 104,722 after a recent jump from levels below 104.
The Japanese yen is trading at 135.27 per dollar, which is weaker compared to levels below 132 against the dollar last week. The Australian dollar changed hands to $ 0.6941 after falling late last week from over $ 0.70.