Japan stocks set for lower start; China to announce benchmark lending rate

SINGAPORE — Shares in Japan looked set to drop at the Monday open as investors in Asia-Pacific look ahead to the release of China’s latest benchmark lending rate.

The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 29,670 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 29,610. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 29,745.87.

Australian stocks declined in morning trade as the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.45%.

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China’s latest one-year loan prime rate is set to be announced at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN on Monday.

Investors will also monitor Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese tech firms Alibaba, Baidu and JD.com after they were among firms fined by China’s market regulator for allegedly violating anti-monopoly legislation.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.127 following a recent bounce from around 95.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 114.08 per dollar, stronger than levels above 114.5 seen against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at 0.7232 after dropping from above $0.735 last week.

(With Inputs from CNBC)

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