China Holds Tight on Rates, Asia Mixed

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Wednesday as China defied expectations by keeping its benchmark lending rate unchanged.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 232.76 points, or 0.9%, to 27,217.85.

The Japanese yen traded at 128.58 per U.S. dollar, stronger as compared to an earlier low of 129.40 seen against the greenback.

The moves came after the Bank of Japan on Wednesday said it would offer to buy an unlimited amount of 10-year Japanese government bonds at 0.25%.

The Japanese yen has been weakening for weeks against the dollar amid expectations the Bank of Japan will lag the U.S. Federal Reserve in normalizing monetary policy.

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong lost 83.09 points, or 0.4%, to 20,944.67

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7417, still lower as compared to levels above $0.745 seen last week.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 dropped 64.11 points, or 1.6%, to 4,070.79.

China on Wednesday kept its one-year loan prime rate unchanged at 3.7%, while also holding steady on the five-year LPR at 4.6%.

A majority of the traders and analysts surveyed in a snap Reuters poll expected a cut in the loan prime rate this month.

Investors have been watching for signs of policy support from Chinese authorities as the mainland continues to grapple with its worst COVID outbreak since the initial shock of the pandemic in 2020.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index edged ahead 28.19 points, or 0.9%, to 3,335.32

In Korea, the Kospi index dipped 0.2 points to 2,718.69.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index zoomed 155.48 points, or 0.9%, to 17,148.88.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 recovered 130.3 points, or 11%, to 11,835.88.

In Australia, the ASX 200 nosed ahead 4.02 points, or 0.1%, to 7,659.23.