Mainland Chinese stocks rise as China keeps loan prime rate unchanged

Mainland Chinese stocks surged on Monday, as China maintained its benchmark lending rate for the third straight month.

The Shanghai composite jumped 3.11% to close at 3,314.15 while the Shenzhen composite was up 2.68% to close at 2,216.70. The Shenzhen component jumped 2.55% to 13,448.85.

Over the weekend, China’s regulators raised the limit on how much insurers can invest in equity assets to 45%, according to Reuters, in an effort to bring more long-term funds into the market. 

China kept both its one-year and five-year loan prime rate unchanged, according to Reuters, as its economy continued to recover after reopening following the coronavirus crisis. Last week, official data showed that its economy grew 3.2% in the second quarter from a year earlier, better than the 2.5% expected by analysts, according to Reuters.

Over in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index lost 0.38% in the afternoon. 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,” according to Reuters.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 clawed back earlier losses to edge up 0.09%, closing at 22,717.48. The Topix rose 0.20% to close at 1,577.03.

Japan’s exports dived 26.2% in June from a year earlier, data showed, according to Reuters. That was a worse decline than expected as economists in a Reuters poll had predicted a 24.9% decline. Imports fell 14.4%, compared with expectations of a 16.8% decline, according to Reuters.

In May, Japan’s exports had fallen 28.3%, the fastest pace since the global financial crisis as U.S.-bound car shipments plunged, according to Reuters.

Autos, a big export sector for Japan, declined all day. By the close, Nissan had dived 3%, Mitsubishi Motor tumbled 1.77% and Suzuki declined 3.64%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.54% to close at 6,001.60 as financials saw declines across the board. Over in South Korea, the Kospi slipped 0.14% to close at 2,198.20.

Overall, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged down 0.09%.

Currencies and oil 

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.876, losing ground from levels above 96 earlier.  

The Japanese yen traded at 107.25 per dollar, after a turbulent previous week where it traded at around levels between 106 and 107. The Australian dollar touched the 0.70 level briefly in the morning, before falling back to 0.6983.

Oil prices deepened declines in the afternoon of Asian trading hours. International benchmark Brent crude futures were down 1.07% to $42.69 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also dipped 1.03% to $40.17 per barrel.

What’s on tap (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 4:30 p.m.: Hong Kong’s unemployment rate for June
  • Earnings: Australia’s South32

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