Asia Gains Ahead of Powell Testimony

Stocks in Asia mostly edged up on Wednesday as investors awaited comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for possible clues on the central bank’s next move on interest rates.

In Japan, however, the Nikkei 225 settled 31.67 points, or 0.2%, to 21,533.48.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.95 against the U.S. dollar after seeing levels below 108.5 earlier in the week

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index recovered 88.41 points, or 0.3%, to 28,204.69.

Korea gained ground as shares of chipmaker SK Hynix soared 4.4%.

Australia markets picked up as most sectors advanced. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6917 after slipping from levels above $0.695 yesterday.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 deleted 6.39 points, or 0.2%, to 3,786.74

The consumer price index in China rose 2.7% year-on-year in June, in line with expectations.

One strategist said the rise in consumer prices in China may abate in the near future.

Others, however, warn that the situation around pork prices may get worse. A decline in pork supply caused by an outbreak of African swine fever has been driving up prices of food in China. In June, food prices in June increased 8.3% year-on-year, higher than the previous month’s figure of 7.7%.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index regained 6.75 points, or 0.3%, to 2,058.78

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index recouped 10.96 points, or 0.3%, to 3,340.42

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index restored 95.7 points, or 0.9%, to 10,798.48

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 rocketed 112.04 points, or 1.1%, to 10,650.14

In Australia, the ASX 200 regained 24.1 points, or 0.4%, to 6,689.79