Asian Markets Mixed as PBoC Keeps Benchmark Lending Rate Unchanged

Stocks in major Asia-Pacific markets were mixed on Tuesday as investors reacted to the October fixing of China’s benchmark lending rate.

Mainland Chinese stocks were higher on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.47% to about 3,328.10 while the Shenzhen component jumped 1.361% to around 13,603.88. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was slightly higher, as of its final hour of trading.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.44% to close at 23,567.04 while the Topix index also shed 0.75% to end its trading day at 1,625.74. Shares of Japan Exchange Group were down 1.51% on the day, following local media reports that the country’s financial regulators are set to conduct an on-site inspection at the Tokyo Stock Exchange after a technical issue earlier in October that halted trading for a day.

South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.5% higher at 2,358.41. Shares of South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix fell 1.73% after the firm said Tuesday it will buy Intel’s NAND memory and storage business for $9 billion.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia fell, with the S&P/ASX 200 finishing its trading day 0.72% lower at 6,184.60.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was below the flatline.

China’s latest one-year and five-year loan prime rates (LPRs) were left unchanged on Tuesday, in line with expectations from a majority of traders and analysts in a snap Reuters poll. At present, the one-year LPR sits at 3.85% while the five-year rate is at 4.65%.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.416 after an earlier low of 93.377.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.49 per dollar following an earlier low of 105.61 against the greenback while the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7038 after slipping from levels above $0.71 yesterday.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.31% to $42.49 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also declined about 0.2% to $40.76 per barrel.