People shopping along the streets of Shinsaibashi in Osaka, Japan.
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Asia-Pacific markets were set to trade higher on Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell overnight acknowledged that inflation is declining — a sign the central bank may soon pause its rate hikes.
The S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.25% in its first hour of trade, as investors further digested the Reserve Bank of Australia’s 25 basis point hike on Tuesday, largely in line with expectations but including hawkish commentary.
The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 27,655 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 27,660 against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 27.685.47.
Japan will publish its current account balance for December, while India’s central bank is scheduled to conclude its monetary policy meeting and announce its rate decision later today. Economists polled by Reuters widely expect the RBI to deliver its final 25 basis point hike.
Overnight on Wall Street, all three major indexes closed higher, with the Nasdaq Composite posting the biggest daily gain, climbing nearly 2%. Investors cheered Powell’s comments on disinflation, hoping they indicated the central bank could continue slowing on its interest rate hike campaign.