China keeps benchmark lending rate unchanged

SINGAPORE – Shares in Asia-Pacific were lower in Monday morning trade, as investors monitored market reaction to the release of China’s latest benchmark lending rates.

In South Korea, the Kospi led losses among the region’s major markets as it dropped 1.77%, with shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics declining more than 2%. The Nikkei 225 in Japan shed earlier gains and was last trading 0.52% lower while the Topix index fell 0.41%.

Australia’s S & P / ASX 200 dipped fractionally.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.1% lower.

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The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 104,639 after a recent bounce from levels below 104.

The Japanese yen traded at 135.15 per dollar, weaker as compared to levels below 132 seen against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $ 0.6945 after dropping late last week from above $ 0.70.

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