Beijing, China (BBN)-Shares in Asia were steady ahead of an unscheduled US Federal Reserve meeting later on Monday.
The board of governors meeting was called to review the advance and discount interest rates charged to commercial banks, among others, reports BBC.
There has been much speculation around whether or not the Fed will raise its benchmark interest rate in December.
The benchmark is a separate target for the rate at which big banks lend reserves to each other overnight.
Analysts said a move on the advance and discount rate later on Monday could be indicative of a benchmark interest rate rise by the end of the year.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.4 per cent at 5,277.20 points.
Evan Lucas of IG Markets said the Sydney market was the best-performing developed market globally last week.
“This is likely to be down to two factors: volatility collapsing on central bank expectations and the fact that yield in Australian or even US dollars is the highest in the Asian world,” he said.
However, Lucas said that mining shares in Australia – especially BHP Billiton – could be hit this week after iron ore fell to $44.91 a tonne on Friday – the second-lowest read of the year.
Iron ore is Australia’s biggest commodity export.
BHP’s Sydney-listed shares were down 2.46 per cent, while mining giant Rio Tinto’s shares were down 1.36 per cent.
South Korea’s benchmark Kospi index was up 0.35 per cent at 1,996.1 points.
ELSEWHERE IN ASIA
China’s two mainland stock exchanges – the Shanghai and Shenzhen indexes – said last week that new rules would come into effect on Monday aimed at limiting leveraged bets on the market and reducing speculative behaviour by investors.
The intention is to reduce the amount that investors can borrow against their existing holdings – a step that analysts said was responsible and would help avoid so-called bubbles.
Reaction to the new rules was subdued, however, with the Shanghai benchmark index up 0.36 per cent at 3,633.01.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was down 0.24 per cent at 22,703.06.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index was closed on Monday for a public holiday.
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