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HONG KONG: Asian shares edged up in early trade on Tuesday, following an upbeat session on Wall Street while investors turned their attention to key US inflation data and the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision this week.

Investors will be closely monitoring US Consumer Price Index (CPI) data, due to be released on Tuesday, and Producer Price Index (PPI) data, due out Wednesday, for a reading of how well the Fed’s tightening cycle has managed to curb inflation.

The equity index’s gains partly reflected expectations for a Fed tightening pause for the first time since January 2022 and for CPI and PPI to come in lower than the prior month, investors and strategists said.

“Overall equity markets reacted positively to expectations the monetary policy cycle may be nearing its peak,” ANZ analysts said in a note.

“US markets are now pricing a 72% probability that the Federal Reserve Monetary Policy Committee (FOMC) will hold rates at this week’s meeting.”

In China, to prop up the economy, the central bank cut its seven-day reverse repo rate by 10 basis points to 1.90% from 2.00% on Tuesday, when it injected 2 billion yuan ($279.97 million) through the short-term bond instrument.

Early in the Asian trading day, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.3% while US stock futures - the S&P 500 e-minis - rose 0.1% Japan’s Nikkei advanced 1.59% and Australian shares were down 0.03%.

China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was 0.05% higher in early trade. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index opened down 0.2%.

Asia shares near month high ahead of central bank meetings

On Monday, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rallied to their highest closing levels since April 2022.

Lifted by gains in market heavyweights Amazon, Apple and Tesla, the S&P 500 has recovered 21% from its October 2022 lows, heralding the start of a new bull market, as defined by some market participants.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.93% to end the session at 4,338.93 points.

The Nasdaq gained 1.53% while Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.56%.

While the Fed is expected to keep rates steady, surprise rate hikes by the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Bank of Canada last week have still kept investors alert to the idea of prolonged tightening cycles.

The European Central Bank will deliver its rate decision on Thursday with analysts expecting it to raise rates by 25 basis points (bps) and to signal that there is more ground to cover.

But the Bank of Japan, which will announce its plan on Friday, is expected to maintain its ultra-loose policy.

In US Treasuries, the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes reached 3.7375% compared with the US close of 3.765% on Monday.

The two-year yield, which rises with traders’ expectations of higher Fed fund rates, touched 4.5749% compared with a US close of 4.592%.

In currencies, the US dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of major currencies, rose 0.019% to 103.600, while the European single currency was up 0.1% on the day at $1.0762.

The dollar dropped 0.05% against the yen to 139.52.

US crude ticked up 0.15% to $67.22 a barrel. Brent crude rose to $72.01 per barrel.

Gold was slightly higher. Spot gold was traded at $1959.29 per ounce.

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