China benchmark lending rate, Wall Street losses

SINGAPORE – Stocks in Asia Pacific markets rose on Friday, with Hong Kong stocks leading the gains as a volatile week of trading comes to an end.

The Hang Seng Index closed 2.96% higher at 20,717.24, while the Hang Seng Tech Index rose 4.74% to close the session at 4,284.42. Hong Kong-listed Chinese shares closed higher, with Xpeng up 6.99% and Baidu up 5.19%.

In other developments, China kept its benchmark one-year lending rate at 3.7% but cut its five-year LPR by 15 basis points. It was the second cut this year.

“This is a long-anticipated move against the backdrop of Covid disruptions, and the drawdown is more than the market expected,” said Chaoping Zhu, global market strategist and JPMorgan Asset Management.

Bank lending has fallen sharply, indicating a lack of trust between businesses and households, Zhu said in an email. Friday’s LPR cut, coupled with the reserve requirement index cut in April, may help boost demand in the real estate and land markets, Zhu added.

Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics, said the five-year LPR cut was the largest reduction on record and is aimed at supporting housing demand.

Mainland Chinese stocks rose on Friday. The Shanghai Composite closed up 1.6% at 3,146.57, while the Shenzhen Component gained 1.82% to close at 11,454.53.

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Shares of Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio rose in their debut in Singapore on Friday, the third bourse on which its shares have been listed. The stock jumped at the open, rising nearly 20% before paring most of the gains to close around 2.4% higher.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.27% to 26,739.03, and the Topix gained 0.93% to 1,877.37. Japan’s core consumer prices, which include energy costs but not fresh food, rose 2.1% in April from a year earlier, in line with economists’ estimates, Reuters reported.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed 1.15% higher at 7,145.6.

In South Korea, the Kospi gained 1.81% to close at 2,639.29, while the Kosdaq rose 1.86% to 879.88. MSCI’s broader index of Asia-Pacific shares outside of Japan rose about 2%.

US-Listed Tech Stocks Appear

Shares of Grab soared in the US overnight after the Southeast Asian ride-sharing and food delivery company reported 6% growth in revenue and predicted business would improve as more countries Covid restrictions will be relaxed.

The stock closed 24.11% higher at $3.14, down from the day’s high of $3.68. Shares continued to rise nearly 2% in after-hours trading.

Shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co also rose in the US on Thursday following a report that it plans to open a plant in Singapore.

The stock rose as high as $92.10, but closed down 0.35% at $90.21. In after-hours trading, TSMC rose 0.21%.

Overnight on Wall Street, major US stock indices fell and the S&P 500 approached a bear market. Investors fear that the Fed’s hikes could push the United States into a recession.

The S&P 500 fell 0.58% to 3,900.79, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 236.94 points, or 0.75%, to 31,253.13. The Nasdaq Composite was down 0.26% at 11,388.50. Those moves followed sharp declines on Wednesday.


The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 102.913, down from over 103.5 earlier this week.

The Japanese yen changed hands at 127.97 per dollar, while the Australian dollar traded at $0.7045.

Crude oil futures fell in afternoon trading from Asia. US crude fell 0.5% to $111.65 a barrel, while international benchmark Brent crude fell 0.61% to $111.36 a barrel.

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