Russian-Ukrainian crisis, China benchmark lending rate

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific fell Monday morning as investors continued to monitor the situation around Ukraine.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan slipped 2% in early trading while the Topix index lost 1.8%. The South Korean Kospi lost 1.64%.

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

MSCI’s broadest Asia Pacific ex-Japan equity index traded down 0.36%.

Fears of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine should continue to weigh on investor sentiment. US President Joe Biden abruptly canceled plans to return home to Delaware on Sunday following a high-level meeting on the Ukraine crisis.

Looking ahead, China is expected to announce its latest benchmark lending rate on Monday, with the latest one-year lending prime rate (LPR) due for release at 9:15 a.m. HK/SIN. The 24 financial institutions, according to a Reuters snapshot poll, predicted no change in the one-year LPR.

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Markets in the United States are closed on Monday for a public holiday.

Currencies

the The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.109 after its recent rally below 96.

The Japanese yen was trading at 114.92 to the dollar after strengthening to around 114.8 against the greenback late last week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7167 after falling from above $0.72 at the end of last week.

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