Asia Shares Trade in Mixed Session ahead of U.S. Inflation Report

Asian shares were mixed on Wednesday as investors awaited the release of a key U.S. inflation report that would influence the future course of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy, with markets betting on a rate hike at the Fed’s upcoming meeting.

The Nikkei 225 index in Japan was up 0.6% as of 9:35 AM Bangkok time, as traders continued to process data on the nation’s producer price index and machinery orders. South Korea’s Kospi was slightly lower.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong dropped 0.75%, while the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia rose by 0.62%. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.39% on the Chinese mainland.

The International Monetary Fund has downgraded its forecasts, expressing concern that the world economy may be headed for its worst growth since 1990.

Overnight on Wall Street, technology companies were down, with the Nasdaq Composite losing 0.43%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 98.27 points, or 0.29%, while the S&P 500 finished the day unchanged.

The median forecast for the U.S. consumer price index among economists surveyed by Dow Jones is a 6% increase over the previous year. Rate hikes of 25 basis points from the central bank are widely anticipated for the coming month.