Japan’s Topix index fluctuated as the yen increased, while Chinese shares traded in Hong Kong climbed back toward the highest levels since November 2015. Oil extended gains above $54 a barrel after OPEC’s top official said the group intends to achieve full compliance with a deal to trim production. The dollar slipped as Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester said policy makers don’t want to surprise the market on interest rates.
Money managers are grappling with political uncertainty as the Fed prepares to lift interest rates again later this year. Expectations for an interest-rate increase at the Fed’s next policy meeting have been on the rise since Chair Janet Yellen indicated Feb. 14 that she foresees additional tightening this year regardless of whether President Donald Trump follows through on plans to pursue a pro-growth fiscal policy, Bloomberg reported.
Mester, in a Bloomberg Television interview from Singapore, reiterated comments made on Feb. 20 that she would be “comfortable” with higher rates in response to upticks in inflation, though she said the Fed was not yet “behind the curve” in addressing price pressures.