By Stella Qiu
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian shares tracked a bounce on Wall Street on Tuesday, as investors remained confident that key U.S. economic data due later would show an easing in inflation, while the yen recouped losses as Japan nominated a new central bank governor.
Japan’s currency had weakened on uncertainty surrounding the next governor of the Bank of Japan. The government named academic Kazuo Ueda on Tuesday as its pick for the job, a surprise choice that could improve the odds of an end to its unpopular yield control policy.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rebounded 0.3%. Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.5%.
Chinese shares reversed earlier gains to be down for the day, with blue chips easing 0.1% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index losing 0.3%.
In some positive news for geopolitics, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is considering meeting top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi at the Munich Security Conference this week, after the United States shot down what it said was a Chinese spy balloon and other flying objects of unknown origin.
Later on Tuesday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will release January’s consumer price index (CPI) data, which is expected to show how effective Federal Reserve policy tightening has been in taming inflation.
Analysts expect the headline CPI to rise 0.5% in January, with the core number seen advancing 0.4%, compared with 0.3% in the previous month, according to a Reuters poll. On an annual basis, consumer price inflation likely eased to 6.2%, from 6.5% in December.
Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 1.2%, while the Nasdaq rallied 1.5% and Dow Jones was up 1.1%.
“The bottom line for us is two-fold. First, inflation is coming down, but it will not be a smooth decline. A return to target for inflation was never very likely this year, so patience is required regardless,” said Seth Carpenter, chief global economist at Morgan Stanley.
“But second, the recent high wage inflation does not spell failure for the Fed. Services inflation is not too far off target, the link from wages to inflation is there, but small, and both services wage and price inflation are trending down despite a strong labour market,” Carpenter added.
Treasuries were largely steady, with the yield on benchmark 10-year government bonds mostly unchanged at 3.7073%.
Two-year bond yields also eased from their three-month highs to hover at 4.5154%, compared with the previous close of 4.5340%.
In currency markets, the dollar remained subdued ahead of the inflation data, after suffering a 0.3% loss against its major peers last session.
It weakened 0.2% against the Japanese yen to 132.13 yen, after gaining 0.8% the previous day.
Japan’s 10-year bond yields hovered at 0.5% – hitting the upper limit of a range enforced by the Bank of Japan – as investors bet the yield control policy would wound up eventually under the new governor.
BlackRock Investment Institute on Monday cut Japanese stocks to “underweight”, saying that a Bank of Japan (BOJ) policy change away from its ultra-loose monetary strategy could push global yields higher and reduce risk appetite.
In the oil market, Brent crude futures eased 1% to $85.77 while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude also fell 1.3% to $79.1.
Gold was slightly higher. Spot gold traded at $1,855.59 per ounce.
(Editing by Gerry Doyle)