Asian stocks sank Monday after China allowed commercial lending rates to soar in a move analysts said was aimed at curbing a booming underground lending industry, AP reported.
On Monday, the central bank told China's commercial lenders to focus on lending to the "real economy" rather than financial speculation. A statement on the bank's website made no mention of informal banking but told lenders to do a better job of forecasting credit and liquidity needs.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.4 percent to 19,978.90. In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index plunged 3 percent to 2,010.77. The Shenzhen Composite Index lost 3.1 percent to 910.17.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index, the regional heavyweight, was down 0.3 percent to 13,194.10. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 1.3 percent at 4,678.90. Benchmarks in Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines fell. Taiwan's rose.
Among individual stocks, Australia's Newcrest Mining Ltd. fell 6.7 percent. BHP Billion Ltd. fell 3 percent. Hong Kong-listed Agricultural Bank of China fell 2.9 percent.
On Wall Street on Friday, stocks rose after investors decided that the sell-off earlier in the week may have been overdone. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday gave its most detailed preview yet of how it will wind down its monthly bond purchases.
That program has made borrowing cheap and encouraged investors to buy stocks. So when the Fed hinted that it might end next the program by the middle of year, it prompted a two-day drop on the stock market. By Friday, investors were ready to buy again.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.3 percent to close at 14,799.40. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.3 percent, to 1,592.43. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.2 percent to 3,357.25.
In energy markets, benchmark oil for August delivery was down 18 cents to $93.50 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.71 to close at $93.69 in New York on Friday.
In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3107 from $1.3139 late Friday in New York. The dollar rose to 98.38 yen from 97.76 yen