Japan's consumer inflation was expected to edge up slightly in March as oil prices stabilized and consumer goods prices stayed steady, calling the Bank of Japan's bullish forecasts into question.
Japanese households cut spending further and retail sales fell for the first time in seven months in January, data on Friday is likely to show, a sign the central bank's radical stimulus has yet to convince consumers that inflation will take hold.
Japan's annual core consumer inflation slowed for a third straight month in October due to falling oil prices, highlighting the economic gloom facing Premier Shinzo Abe as he campaigns for a new mandate to implement his stalled recovery plan.
Underlying inflation pressures rose in October, even as falling gasoline prices kept overall U.S. consumer prices in check, bolstering expectations of a mid-2015 interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve.
European shares edged up and the euro hit a one-week low against the dollar on Wednesday, driven by upbeat company earnings results and hopes of corporate bond buying by the European Central Bank.
Representatives from several Chinese firms defended their unpopular mega projects in Myanmar.