Asia stocks set to open little changed; China's loan prime rate ahead

Stocks in Asia were set to open largely unchanged on Monday, with the People’s Bank of China set to announce the monthly fixing of its loan prime rate later in the day.

Futures pointed to a muted open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 24,035 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 24,020. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 24,041.26.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia saw gains in early trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 up about 0.3% as the majority of sectors advanced.

Ahead, the Chinese central bank is set to announce the monthly fixing of the country’s benchmark lending rate, expected around 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN. Reuters reported Friday, citing a survey of participants, that the Chinese financial markets are divided over whether the rate will maintained or lowered.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.637 after seeing a spike from levels below 97.4 on Friday.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.16 per dollar after weakening from levels below 109.8 last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6875 after declining from levels above $0.692 in the previous trading week.

Here’s what’s on tap in the day ahead:

  • China: People’s Bank of China releases new loan prime rates at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN
  • Hong Kong: Unemployment rate for December at 4:30 p.m. HK/SIN


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