WASHINGTON: Asian equities were mixed on Monday as investors mulled headlines out of the G-20 finance ministers meeting in Germany at the weekend and China Development Forum over the next two days. Finance ministers from twenty of the world’s biggest economies held a two-day meeting, and warned against competitive devaluations and disorderly FX markets but failed to agree on keeping global trade free and open. “Germany Finance Minister Schauble bemoaned the omission for “resit all forms of protectionism” in the G-20 communique as U.S. Treasury Mnuchin preferred to ‘reduce excessive global imbalances…promote greater inclusiveness and fairness,'” said Vishnu Varathan, senior economist at Mizuho Bank, in a Monday note. Down Under, the ASX 200 closed down 0.36 percent or 20.7 points at 5,778.9.
Australian retailers were under pressure on Monday, due to fears of Amazon potentially launching its service in the country this year, analysts said. Shares of JB Hi-Fi were down 2.84 percent, Harvey Norman dropped 8.21 percent, and Suparetail was down 3.36 percent. South Korea’s Kospi finished 0.35 percent or 7.6 points lower at 2,157.01. 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 (PPI) up at 4.2 percent, compared to January’s 3.9 percent.