Australian shares closed higher on Tuesday, led by gains in gold and mining stocks, as investors expect data due out on Wednesday would show a further slowdown in July consumer prices and prompt the central bank to stand pat on interest rates.
The S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 0.7% to 7,210.50, extending gains for a second session.
After data showed a pickup in July retails sales, markets await the monthly consumer price print for further direction. The data is expected to show a slowdown in annual inflation to around 5.2% in July, from 5.4% in June.
"We saw a stronger-than-expected retail sales print for Australia, which could point towards inflation remaining in the category of 'stubborn' for the next CPI print," said Tim Waterer, chief market analyst at KCM Trade.
"Any upside would move the odds in favour of another potential RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) hike."
Gold stocks led gains on the benchmark, climbing 1.8% as bullion prices jumped ahead of crucial U.S. inflation and jobs data this week that could define the outlook for interest rates.
St Barbara advanced nearly 5.8%, while Evolution Mining was up 1.4%.
Miners rose 1.7%, with BHP and Rio Tinto up over 1% each.
In other news, BlueScope Steel was fined A$57.7 million ($37.19 million) by the competition regulator for attempting to fix prices for flat steel product supplies in the country. Its shares closed 0.7% higher.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.4% higher at 11,528.12.
($1 = 1.5516 Australian dollars) (Reporting By Navya Mittal in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)