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Hong Kong stocks drop more than 2%; China holds steady on benchmark lending rate

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific mostly fell in Friday trade as China left its benchmark lending rate unchanged.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index plunged 2.28% by the afternoon, with Chinese tech shares listed in the city continuing to see another day of heavy losses as regulatory uncertainty surrounding the sector lingers. Shares of Meituan dropped 7.11% while Alibaba fell 2.16% and JD.com declined 3.08%. The Hang Seng Tech index shed 3.57%.

Mainland Chinese stocks fell as the Shanghai composite declined 1.66% and the Shenzhen component slipped 2.18%.

China’s one-year loan prime rate (LPR) and five-year LPR were both left unchanged at 3.85% and 4.65%, respectively, on Friday. That was in line with expectations of majority of traders and analysts in a snap poll, according to Reuters.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 0.73% in morning trade while the Topix index shed 0.49%.

Japanese automaker shares continued to see losses on Friday, with Toyota Motor falling 1.97% while
Nissan Motor dropped 6.79% and Honda Motor declined 3.84%.

That came following Toyota’s Thursday announcement that it will slash global production for September by 40% from its previous plan, Reuters reported. Shares of Toyota plunged more than 4% on Thursday after the Nikkei first reported on the firm’s plan.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.8% while the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia climbed 0.11%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.94% lower.

Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 gained about 0.13% to 4,405.80 while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.11% to 14,541.79. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lagged, slipping 66.57 points to 34,894.12.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.533 following its climb earlier this week from below 93.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.75 per dollar, stronger than levels above 110 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7144, having declined from above $0.728 earlier in the week.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.53% to $66.80 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 0.58% to $64.06 per barrel.

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