The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed on Monday with Japan’s benchmark taking a major hit for a second straight session and as investors monitored the financial markets for a reaction to the plunge in the Turkish Lira following a sudden upheaval at the country’s central bank over the weekend. In Japan, investors continued to react the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) decision to remove guidance to buy exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
In the cash market on Monday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 29174.15, down 617.90 or -2.07%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 28885.34, down 105.60 or -0.36% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3035.46, down 4.07 or -0.13%.
In China, the benchmark Shanghai Index settled at 3443.44, up 38.78 or +1.14% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6752.50, up 44.30 or +0.66%.
Plunging Turkish Lira Fuels Cautious Trade
Asia-Pacific traders eyed the Turkish Lira on Monday, with the currency dropping more than 8% to 7.7983 against the greenback, compared to levels below 7.5 per dollar seen last week. Earlier, the Lira had weakened to as much as 8.1745 against the greenback.
The plunge was triggered after the country’s central bank saw another upheaval, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan abruptly replacing its chief just days after a sharp interest rate hike.
China Stocks End Higher on Banking, Infrastructure Boost
China stocks ended higher on Monday, underpinned by banking and infrastructure shares, as the country’s central bank kept its key lending rate for corporate and household loans unchanged.
The session’s gains came in after a four-week losing streak as investors pulled out of highly valued sectors amid policy tightening fears.
Leading the gains, the CSI300 Banks Index rose 2.3%, while the CSI300 Infrastructure Index added 3%.
In other news, China kept its benchmark lending rate for corporate and household loans unchanged for an 11th straight month at its March fixing on Monday, matching market expectations.
China’s monetary policy needs to focus on supporting economic growth in a targeted way while also reducing financial risks, the central bank head said.
Japanese Shares Tumble after Chip Plant Fire, Car Makers Hit
Japanese shares tumbled on Monday as car makers took a hit after a fire at a plant owned by semiconductor supplier Renesas Electronics fanned worries about more chip supply shortfalls hitting vehicle production.
Meanwhile, the Nikkei continued to underperform the broader market, after the Bank of Japan said on Friday it would no longer purchase Nikkei-linked exchange traded funds (ETFs).
For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.