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Asia-Pacific markets set for mixed open after Powell’s dovish tone; Japan and China inflation in focus

WorldAsia-Pacific markets set for mixed open after Powell's dovish tone; Japan and China inflation in focus

Customers at a fresh food market in Shanghai, China, on Monday, Aug. 7, 2023.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Asia-Pacific markets were set to open higher on Wednesday, following dovish comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell overnight.

Powell signaled caution over leaving interest rates at too high a level, saying that “reducing policy restraint too late or too little could unduly weaken economic activity and employment.”

Over in Asia, investors will assess inflation data from China and Japan, with China releasing its consumer and producer prices data for June.

Inflation in China is expected to accelerate slightly to 0.4%, up from 0.3% in May, while its PPI is forecast to post a softer fall of 0.8% from May’s 1.4% decline.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures pointed to a weaker open for the index at after it hit an all-time high on Tuesday, with the futures contract in Chicago at 41,540 and in Osaka at 41,500 compared to the index’s previous close of 41,580.17.

Futures for Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 stood at 7,771, slightly lower than its last close of 7,829.7.

Hong Kong Hang Seng index futures were at 17,641, higher than the HSI’s last close of 17,523.23.

Overnight in the U.S., the S&P 500 climbed to a fresh record Tuesday after Powell’s comments, gaining 0.07% to 5,576.98 and marking its 36th record close of the year.

The Nasdaq Composite added 0.14% to close at 18,429.29, also ending the day at a record. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked down 0.13%.

—CNBC’s Brian Evans and Sarah Min contributed to this report.

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