Australian shares closed marginally lower on Wednesday, pulled down by lacklustre performances among miners and energy firms, while investors gauged New Zealand's quarterly inflation print and hawkish comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.1% lower at 7,605.6 points, posting its fifth consecutive session of declines.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said on Tuesday that monetary policy needs to be restrictive for longer, further dampening investor hopes of rapid interest rate cuts this year.

Powell's comments "reinforce the point that the economic data has been telling us, which is that it's still a bit too early to pull the trigger on a rate cut," said Tim Waterer, chief market analyst at KCM Trade.

Investors will now look to domestic jobs data, due Thursday, as "any repeat performance of the previous bumper employment data could cause the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) to remain on hold for longer," he said.

Heavyweight miners led losses with a 0.2% drop, as tepid economic data from top consumer China weighed on most base metals.

Global miner BHP lost 1.2% while Rio Tinto ended flat as the iron ore giant's first-quarter shipments missed estimates.

Shares of Lynas Rare Earths gained nearly 6% as Australia's richest person, Gina Rinehart, increased her stake in the largest producer of rare earths-outside of China.

Energy firms lost 0.5% as oil prices dipped on supply fears.

Financials ended flat. Bank of Queensland closed 5.2% higher after an estimate-beating half-year profit.

Bucking the sombre mood, gold stocks jumped 2.3% as bullion held its ground after the Middle East conflict lifted safe-haven demand.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 0.6% points to 11,875.25 points.

Data released by Statistics New Zealand showed that the consumer price index rose 0.6% in the first quarter, meeting market expectations. (Reporting by Aaditya Govind Rao in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)