Russia-Ukraine crisis, China’s benchmark lending rate

SINGAPORE – Shares in Asia-Pacific fell in Monday morning trade, as investors continue to watch the situation surrounding Ukraine.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan slipped 2% in early trade while the Topix index shed 1.8%. South Korea’s Kospi shed 1.64%.

Australia’s S & P / ASX 200 slipped 0.82% in morning trade.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.36% lower.

Fears of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine are likely to continue weighing on investor sentiment. US President Joe Biden abruptly canceled plans on Sunday to go home to Delaware following a top level meeting on the Ukraine crisis.

Looking ahead, China is set to announce its latest benchmark lending rate on Monday, with the latest one-year loan prime rate (LPR) expected to be out at 9:15 am HK / SIN. All 24 financial institutions a snap Reuters poll predicted no change in the one-year LPR.

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Markets in the US are closed on Monday for a holiday.

Currencies

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96,109 following its recent climb from below 96.

The Japanese yen traded at 114.92 per dollar after strengthening to around 114.8 against the greenback late last week. The Australian dollar was at $ 0.7167 following a decline from above $ 0.72 late last week.

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