SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Monday morning trade, as investors reacted to the release of China’s latest benchmark lending rate. Oil prices also jumped around 3%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, which rose more than 1% in early trade, pared gains but remained in positive territory as it hovered 0.18% higher. The city’s benchmark finished more than 4% higher last week following a volatile week which swung between big gains and losses.
Trading in the Hong Kong-listed shares of China Evergrande and its property services and new energy vehicle unit was halted on Monday, according to exchange notices. No immediate reason was given for the trading halts.
China’s one-year loan prime rate was kept unchanged at 3.7% on Monday, largely in line with expectations from a Reuters survey.
Investors have been watching for hints of policy support from Beijing following a Chinese state media report last week that signaled support for Chinese stocks.
UBS Global Wealth Management’s Eva Lee said policy easing measures by Chinese authorities — including one to two rounds of cuts in the reserve requirement ratio for banks — are expected ahead. She added the earliest of any actions may be in early April, based on past practices.
“We got to be patient on this, but we do believe that it’s coming,” Lee, head of Greater China equities at the firm’s chief investment office, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Monday.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded little changed.
Markets in Japan are closed on Monday for a holiday.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98.251 — off levels above 98.5 seen recently.
The Japanese yen traded at 119.14 per dollar following its weakening last week from levels below 118.2 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7422, as compared with levels below $0.721 seen last week.