Reuters - Asia share indexes were quiet Wednesday with market participants wary of any hint of higher interest rates from the U.S. Federal Reserve as a result of high asset valuations relying so heavily on an endless supply of super-cheap money.

Approaching data on China retail sales and industrial production offered another reason for caution, with some modest slowdown in annual growth expected.

Moves were modest, except in the oil market where prices hit their highest since April 2019 on a mix of post-pandemic demand and restricted production.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan barely moved, while China blue chip prices dipped 0.3%.

Japan's Nikkei eased 0.2% but South Korean stock prices rose 0.6% to a record after five months of effort.

Both S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures were all but unchanged. Eurostoxx 50 futures rose 0.1% and FTSE futures 0.3%.

For dealers, discretion was front and center ahead of the conclusion of the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting later in the session.

Trading could be choppy around the event as forecasts from Fed members might read as hawkish while the news conference from Fed Chair Jerome Powell has tended to sound dovish.

"We think chairperson Powell will indicate officials discussed talking about tapering, but tapering itself is still someway off given the Federal Reserve remains well short on making substantial progress on employment with payrolls still 7.3 million below pre-pandemic levels," said NAB economics director Tapas Strickland.

Most important will be Fed members' projections, or dot plots, for interest rates and whether more now tip a rise in 2023. Previously only seven of 18 members had seen such a move.

There could also be some upward movement in inflation projections for this year and next, given the last two readings on consumer prices surprised to the high side.

Bank of America's latest survey of fund managers suggests most are optimistic despite the current situation. Some 72% said inflation was transitory while 23% saw it as permanent.

"Market participants are bullishly positioned for permanent growth, transitory inflation and a peaceful Fed taper via longs in commodities, cyclicals and financials," Bank of America said, suggesting the market was vulnerable to any hint of Fed hawkishness.

The bond market certainly seemed untroubled with 10-year Treasury yields holding at 1.50%, just above a recent four-month low of 1.428%.

The Fed's dogged stance on keeping rates low has kept the dollar restrained, though it did eke out a one-month top overnight against its basket of comparative currencies. The dollar index was last at 90.519 and going nowhere for now.

The dollar was a shade firmer on the yen at 110.09, but short of resistance around 110.33. The euro was holding at $1.2122, having found support near $1.2090.

In commodity markets, gold was pinned at $1,854 an ounce and not far from a one-month trough of $1,843.

Oil prices continued their run higher to hit their most in more than two years on signs of stronger demand and still tight supplies.

Brent climbed 48 cents to $74.47 a barrel and was aiming for the 2019 peak of $75.63, while U.S. crude added 48 cents to $72.60.