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BENGALURU: Most emerging Asian equities eked out small gains on Tuesday and currencies treaded water, as investors exercised caution while waiting for key inflation data from the US and India ahead of a Federal Reserve policy meeting.

Equities in South Korea, Singapore and Indonesia gained between 0.2% and 0.4%.

“Most of the currencies, asset classes are in consolidation mode ahead of some of these key events data releases,” Christopher Wong, FX strategist at OCBC said.

“We have come to a point that market is just not doing too much, staying sidelines and just deciding after the data what comes after next.”

The closely-watched US Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) report due later on Tuesday is expected to show inflation still cooling but staying well above the Fed’s 2% annual target, with core CPI expected to come in at 4%.

Meanwhile, the US Federal Reserve is widely expected to announce a hold in rates on Wednesday and to keep interest rates unchanged until at least July, later than earlier thought.

Wong said rate cuts from the Fed would be positive for Asian currencies but the extent of how much they could appreciate into next year would depend on how Asian economies fared, in particular China.

The Indian rupee was largely flat, while stocks added a marginal 0.2% ahead of the country’s inflation data, which will play a crucial role in determining the trajectory of future monetary policy.

The Reserve Bank of India held rates steady last week, but flagged the outlook for inflation remained uncertain.

Thailand’s baht (THB) retreated 0.8% to hit its lowest level since Nov. 16.

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