HONG KONG: Stocks in Asia fell on Tuesday as investors worried China’s latest rate cut was not enough to boost confidence in the weakening economy and awaited a wider stimulus package by Beijing.

China, in a highly anticipated move, cut two key benchmark lending rates for the first time in 10 months on Tuesday, with its one-year loan prime rate (LPR) lowered by 10 basis points to 3.55% and the five-year LPR cut by the same margin to 4.20%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.69%. China’s benchmark CSI edged down 0.03%. US markets were closed on Monday.

“I don’t think they (the LPR cuts) are going to move the needle at all,” said Redmond Wong, Greater China market strategist at Saxo Markets.

He said a 15 basis-point cut would be a “stronger message” to boost China’s property sector. China’s real estate index dropped 0.74% in early trade.

The rate cuts are the latest in a string of moves by Beijing to shore up a slowing recovery in the world’s second-largest economy amid looming deflation risks, property market woes and high youth unemployment.

The People’s Bank of China lowered the medium-term lending facility rate on Thursday last week.

The market was speculating on what China could do next to revive the recovery but was disappointed by a lack of concrete measures from a cabinet meeting on Friday.

Asian stocks pause rally, eyeing China stimulus, Powell testimony

“We probably will need to wait for China’s Politburo meeting, headed by President Xi early in July, for any concrete announcement on a new round of stimulus,” National Australia Bank Senior FX Strategist Rodrigo Catril said in a client note.

The delay in further stimulus measures weighed on sentiment and followed moves by a handful of big banks, including Goldman Sachs, to lower their growth forecasts for the Chinese economy.

Meanwhile, China and the United States failed to produce any major breakthrough during a rare visit to Beijing by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, but both sides agreed to stabilise relations to avoid veering into conflict.

“The meeting helped improve sentiment, but the market also understands that there’s strategic competition between the US and China,” Saxo’s Wong said.

Hong Kong stocks fell 1.03% with its tech gauge dropping 1.58% on Tuesday.

Japan’s Nikkei traded almost flat with a 0.05% drop.

Australian shares bucked the trend to edge higher to a seven-week peak on Tuesday, with commodity stocks leading the charge, while traders awaited minutes of the central bank’s June policy meeting for more insight into the path of interest rates.

The benchmark US 10-year Treasury yield rose 3.3 basis points.

US crude fell 1.38% to $70.79 per barrel and Brent was at $75.83, down 0.34% on the day.

The US dollar index rose 0.088%, with the euro down 0.1% to $1.0911.

Spot gold dropped 0.1% to $1,948.39 an ounce.


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