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Asia markets fall after overnight Dow plunge; China’s keeps benchmark lending rate unchanged

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific fell in Tuesday morning trade following an overnight tumble for stocks on Wall Street that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging more than 700 points.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.63% while the Topix index fell 0.79%. South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.31%.

Mainland Chinese stocks were lower in early trading, with the Shanghai composite 0.56% lower while the Shenzhen component shed 0.18%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was near the flatline.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia dropped 0.37%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.19% lower.

On Tuesday, China kept unchanged its benchmark lending rate for corporate and household loans — the one-year Loan Prime Rate (LPR) held steady at 3.85% while the five-year LPR was also left at 4.65%. Majority of traders and analysts in a snap poll expected no change to both the one-year or five-year LPR, according to Reuters.

Markets in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are closed on Tuesday for holidays.

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The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.849 after a recent bounce from below 92.8.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.48 per dollar, stronger than levels above 110.5 seen against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7339, off levels around $0.738 seen yesterday.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.52% to $68.98 per barrel. U.S. crude futures advanced 0.74% to $66.91 per barrel.

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