Via CNBC

Stocks in Asia were mostly higher in Monday morning trade, with the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) keeping the loan prime rate (LPR) unchanged.

Mainland Chinese stocks saw gains, with the Shanghai composite up more than 0.1% while the Shenzhen composite was 0.144% higher. The Shenzhen component also gained 0.31%.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong, however, slipped fractionally as shares of life insurer AIA dropped more than 1%.

The moves came as the People’s Bank of China kept the one year and five year loan prime rates unchanged for January.

“We still expect some changes to the LPR at some point this year, even though we’re not seeing that as early as like the first month of the year right now,” Kevin Leung, executive director of investment strategy at Haitong International Securities, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Monday.

“The phase one of the trade deal has been … signed right now, so i think (the Chinese authorities) would take a few months to see if anything is going on or if there’s any further improvements made or if there’s any deterioration in … the second phase when that happens,” Leung said. “If there’s any more stimulus policies coming in, I think it will be coming in the second quarter of the year.”

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.18% despite shares of index heavyweight Fast Retailing falling more than 1%. The Topix index also advanced 0.5%.

South Korea’s Kospi added 0.82% as shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics gained about 1.8% after the firm announced some leadership changes, according to a Reuters report.

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Meanwhile, shares in Australia saw gains as well, with the S&P/ASX 200 up about 0.3% as the majority of sectors advanced.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.15% higher.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.613 after seeing a spike from levels below 97.4 on Friday.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.17 per dollar after weakening from levels below 109.8 last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6879 after declining from levels above $0.692 in the previous trading week.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.06% to $65.54 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also advanced 0.99% to $59.12 per barrel.

Here’s what’s on tap in the day ahead:

  • Hong Kong: Unemployment rate for December at 4:30 p.m. HK/SIN