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Japan’s Nikkei 225 briefly plunges 4%, leading losses across major markets in Asia


SINGAPORE — Singapore is a city-state in Southeast Asia Asia-Pacific stocks fell on Monday as Japan’s markets plummeted. Meanwhile, China’s benchmark lending rate remained unchanged.

Japanese stocks led regional losses, with the Nikkei 225 falling 4% in Monday trade. It later recovered some of its losses, but it still finished 3.29 percent lower at 28,010.93. The Topix index fell 2.42 percent to 1,899.45 at the end of the trading day.

Most sectors in Japan experienced losses, with shares of automakers such as Nissan and Honda falling 4.07 percent and 3.93 percent, respectively. Fanuc’s stock dropped 5.62 percent. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group shares fell 2.72 percent, while Mizuho Financial Group shares fell 2.25 percent.

“At this point, we’re probably in a holding pattern in terms of most Japanese names,” Lorraine Tan, Morningstar’s director of equity research in Asia, said on CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Monday.

“The Japanese market had a nice run recently in the last month or so,” she said, adding that valuations are close to “fair,” rather than “attractive.”

Markets in Asia-Pacific slip

In Asia-Pacific, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.28 percent in the final hour of trading. Mainland Chinese stocks finished higher, with the Shanghai composite up 0.12 percent to 3,529.18 and the Shenzhen component up 0.395 percent to 14,641.29.

The Kospi in South Korea fell 0.83 percent on the day to 3,240.79. Australia’s stock market fell, with the S&P/ASX 200 dropping 1.81 percent to close at 7,235.30.

The MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan index fell 1.29 percent.

“Markets continue their post-FOMC slump as concerns about rate normalisation keep a lid on risk sentiment,” OCBC Bank analysts wrote in a note dated Monday.

The United States Federal Reserve raised its inflation forecast and accelerated the pace of interest rate hikes last week, causing the dollar index to rise against a basket of peers.

The US dollar index was at 92.151, having recently risen from levels below 91.2.

China announced on Monday that the one-year Loan Prime Rate (LPR) remained unchanged at 3.85 percent, while the five-year LPR remained unchanged at 4.65 percent. This was consistent with the majority of analysts polled in a recent Reuters poll, who predicted no change in the one-year Loan Prime Rate or the five-year LPR.

Currencies and oil

The Japanese yen was trading at 109.88 per dollar, up from levels above 110.5 seen last week. The Australian dollar traded at $0.749, still struggling to recover from last week’s drop from above $0.768.

Oil prices rose in the afternoon Asian trading session, with international benchmark Brent crude futures rising 0.19 percent to $73.65 per barrel. Crude futures in the United States rose 0.25 percent to $71.82 per barrel.


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