South Korean stocks lead losses in mixed Asian session, but Nikkei ekes out gain – CNBC

In the currency market, the dollar traded up against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index at 94.750, compared with levels near 94.100 late last week.

The Japanese yen traded comparatively weaker against the greenback, at levels near 100.70 as of 8:31 a.m. HK/SIN, compared with the 99 handle it reached in the previous week.

Analysts previously suggested that the yen could strengthen further against the greenback, after markets were disappointed with the Japanese central bank‘s last monetary policy meeting, where it only increased its purchases of exchange-traded funds (ETF) and left rates unchanged.

Reports out of Japan over the weekend suggested that the Bank of Japan might cut rates further into negative territory at its next meeting in September in a bid to prop up the country’s moribund economy.

In an interview with Sankei newspaper, Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the BOJ’s negative rate policy, introduced earlier this year, has not reached its limits, according to a Reuters report of the interview.

Oil prices were also likely to be in focus after surging dramatically in the past two weeks due to talk of a potential OPEC supply freeze, especially after the cartel’s biggest producer, Saudi Arabia, last week said it was on board with discussing actions if prices remained low.

But analysts pointed out the market has little expectation that OPEC would act at its upcoming meeting in September.

U.S. crude futures were down 0.56 percent at $48.25 a barrel on Monday early morning, while global benchmark Brent was off 0.86 percent to $50.44.

? Patti Domm contributed to this report.

? Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.

South Korean stocks lead losses in mixed Asian session, but Nikkei ekes out gain – CNBC}

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