HONG KONG- Asian shares were on edge on Wednesday as worries about soaring power prices fueling inflation weighed on sentiment and drove expectations the United States would taper its emergency bond buying program, holding the dollar at a one-year high.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.1 percent in early trading, steadying after falling over 1 percent a day earlier, in what was its worst daily performance in three weeks.
Moves were muted in most markets. Chinese blue chips were flat, Australia eeked out a 0.06 percent gain, while Japan’s Nikkei shed 0.2 percent.
Hong Kong’s stock market was closed in the morning because of a typhoon.
Also contributing to the uneasy mood, investors are waiting for a raft of data releases due to be published Wednesday, including Chinese trade figures, US consumer price inflation data, and minutes of the US Federal Reserve’s September policy meeting.
The looming start of company earnings season also deterred some investors from placing large bets.
“This week, inflation is overriding pretty much everything else, because that pushes Fed expectations one way or the other and that’s just so dominant,” said Stefan Hofer, chief investment strategist for LGT in Asia Pacific.
“This earnings season is also critical because in the previous one, earnings especially in the US, were very strong, partly because of the base effect. The third quarter may be a little more standard,” he added.
The US Federal Reserve is inching closer to starting to taper its pandemic relief massive bond purchase program, a decision that is complicated by growing fears around the world that rising energy costs will stoke inflation while also curtailing the economic recovery. – Reuters