Asia Mostly Up as Chinese Rates Stay Put

Stocks in major Asian markets were mostly higher on Monday, with the People’s Bank of China keeping the loan prime rate unchanged.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index gained 42.25 points, or 0.2%, to 24,083.51, despite shares of index heavyweight Fast Retailing falling 1.6%.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.17 per U.S. dollar after weakening from levels below 109.8 last week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index subtracted 260.51 points, or 0.9%, to 28,795.51.

Korean indices saw gains, as shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics jumped 1.8% after the firm announced some leadership changes.

Australian markets struggled higher. Meantime, the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6886 after declining from levels above $0.692 in the previous trading week.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 added 30.98 points, or 0.8%, to 4,185.83.

Shares of Chinese drugmakers and facial mask firms also surged amid concerns over a coronavirus outbreak in the the country. Jiangsu Sihuan Bioengineering and Shandong Lukang Pharmaceutical saw their stock surge by about 10%, their daily movement limit. Meanwhile, facial mask maker Shanghai Dragon also soared around 10%.

The moves came as the People’s Bank of China kept the one-year and five-year loan prime rates unchanged for January.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex moved ahead 28.42 points, or 0.2%, to 12,118.71

In Korea, the Kospi index was positive 12.07 points, or 0.5%, to 2,262.64

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index slid 0.94 points to 3,280.09

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 deleted 53.26 points, or 0.5%, to 11,746.95

In Australia, the ASX 200 improved 15.39 points, or 0.2%, to 7,079.52