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Asian equities mixed as investors mull G20 moves

Asian equities mixed as investors mull G20 moves

Asian stocks were mixed on Monday following Wall Street's declines and the G20's decision to drop a pledge to avoid trade protectionism.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was fractionally lower. Japan is closed for a holiday.

Down Under, the ASX 200 dipped 0.35%, seeing broad losses across all sub-indexes. South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.52%. Earlier, official data showed that South Korea's February producer prices rose at its fastest pace in over five years, with the producer price index up at 4.2%, compared to January's 3.9%.

Chinese mainland shares were mixed on Monday morning, with the Shanghai composite up 0.17% and the Shenzhen composite flat. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.54%.

Financial leaders from the world's biggest economies reiterated their warnings against competitive devaluations and disorderly foreign exchange markets at the meeting in the German town of Baden-Baden over the weekend.

But they failed to agree on a commitment to keep global trade free and open, highlighting a global shift toward protectionism.

Markets are focused on a raft of speeches by Federal Reserve officials this week, including Chicago's Charles Evans on Tuesday and Friday, Chair Janet Yellen on Thursday and Dallas' Robert Kaplan and Minneapolis's Neel Kashkari on Friday and New York's William Dudley on Saturday.

In company news, oilfield services firm Ezra Holdings of Singapore filed for US Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Saturday, and said it had loans of $272 million owed to Singapore's DBS Group, and $184 million owed to Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Shares of DBS Group and OCBC were down 0.63% and 0.52%, respectively.

In commodities, oil prices continued their downward trend as doubts grew about the effectiveness of OPEC cuts in containing a supply glut as U.S. inventories continue to climb.

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