HONG KONG    -   Asian markets were broadly lower Monday as the rally from June’s lows runs out of steam owing to renewed con­cerns about Federal Reserve plans to ramp up interest rates to combat runaway inflation.

All eyes are on a symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where Fed boss Jerome Powell will deliver a speech that will be followed for an idea about the bank’s next moves.

A dip in price rises and signs of economic slowdown had raised hopes policymakers would ease up -- and possibly cut next year -- after two suc­cessive, 75-basis-point hikes, helping equities rally globally.

But that optimism has slow­ly been eroded in recent weeks as Fed officials, including Pow­ell, have warned that the battle against inflation was far from won, particularly as the jobs market remained resilient.

One of the latest was Rich­mond Fed boss Thomas Bar­kin, who reasserted his com­mitment to bringing inflation back to two percent from the four-decade high of around nine percent. He said on Fri­day the policy board would “do what it takes to get there”, but warned: “There’s a path to getting inflation under control but a recession could happen in the process.”

Jonathan Millar of Barclays said it was unlikely Powell would signal a slowdown in rate hikes this week. “It does seem like what we’ve heard from Powell so far suggests there’s quite a high bar for them to transition from aggres­sive hikes” to 25 basis points. “One thing they definitely want to communicate is that they remain very much focused on issues with price stability and that they will react very cau­tiously to any signs of improve­ments in the inflation data.”

And National Australia Bank’s Rodrigo Catril added that the Fed chief will likely say that “while we may be close to the end of the beginning of the current tightening cycle, we are still a long way from the end”. All three main indexes on Wall Street fell Friday and Asia followed suit in early trade.

Hong Kong, Tokyo, Syd­ney, Seoul, Taipei, Manila and Jakarta dropped. However, Shanghai rose after China’s central bank cut prime loan rates as it tries to bolster the world’s second-biggest econo­my, which has been ravaged by lockdowns across the country as part of leaders’ zero-Covid strategy. Singapore and Wel­lington also edged up.

The prospect of more US hikes to come has given an­other boost to the dollar, which rallied against the yen and is approaching the 140 yen mark for the first time in 24 years. The stronger green­back was helping to keep oil prices down, while downward pressure was being enhanced by speculation rising about a possible Iran nuclear deal that could ease a supply crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “The global balance for the remainder of the year is not as tight as many were expecting, with Russian sup­ply holding up well,” said War­ren Patterson, of ING Groep NV. “While it may take several months for Iran to get pro­duction back to pre-sanction levels in the event of a deal, in the short term, they should still be able to boost exports by relying on storage