Asian markets mixed on inflation figures

<p>New US inflation data boosted speculation of an interest rate hike.</p>

Asian markets were mixed today (February 27th) after US inflation data sparked speculation of an interest rate hike and Japan reported weaker retail sales. Signals of rising inflation were visible in many industries in the US, including shelter and personal care.

This has led traders to worry about when exactly the US central bank will start raising interest rates this year, although US Federal Reserve Chair said this week that the US central bank would be patient about raising them, as the job market is still healing.

"Given that inflation surprises have been negative around the world, anything above consensus is a sign for optimism and a sign for higher rates in the US," Deutsche Bank strategist Daniel Brehon told Bloomberg News.

Meanwhile, official data revealed Japanese inflation slowed for a sixth straight month in January, while retail spending fell 1.3 per cent month-on-month.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.06 per cent to 18,797.94 and the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1 per cent 3,300.19. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.32 per cent at 24,823.29 and Seoul's Kospi shed 0.1 per cent to 1,985.80. 

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