TOKYO, July 17 (Reuters) - Asian stocks were mostly lower on Tuesday, with a sharp decline in crude oil prices weighing on energy shares, while the dollar dipped ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's first USA congressional testimony.
The U.S. currency moved around ¥113 in midmorning trading but fell below ¥112.90 later as a sense of achievement grew among market players after the dollar rose above the recent high of ¥112.80, traders said. When the USA treasuries are stronger, it erodes the appeal of the yellow metal as a safe haven among investors and also makes it an expensive affair for buyers in currencies other than the dollar, reducing the demand.
Benchmark US 10-year notes last fell 3/32 in price to yield 2.871 percent, from 2.862 percent late on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Powell said he believed the United States was on course for years more of steady growth, and carefully played down the risks to the US economy of an escalating trade conflict.
The central bank's preferred inflation measure rose 2.3 percent in the 12 months ended in May, up from 1.5 percent a year earlier.
Copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 1.1 percent at $6,255 a tonne amid low stockpiles.
A strong dollar tends to weigh on gold by making the dollar-priced metal costlier for non-US investors.
The spread between two-year and 10-year Treasury yields hovered at its tightest level since July 2007, as Powell's comments supported traders' views of further rate increases from the USA central bank.
The Fed raised rates in June and policymakers have indicated they expect two more increases this year.
The Chinese yuan rose 0.1 percent to 6.7392 per dollar in offshore trading after falling to a almost one-year low of 6.7580 the previous day.
Analysts now see second-quarter S&P 500 earnings growth of 21.2 per cent, up from 20.7 per cent on Jul 1.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.60 percent, hitting a one-month high.
The Fed chairman also said concerns about trade policy "may well" have an impact on wages and capital expenditures, which are known as capex.
Amid the simmering trade tensions, the Chinese yuan extended losses to touch a one-year low of 6.779 per dollar in offshore trading.
The U.K. currency was dragged down the previous day on weak inflation data and political turmoil related to Britain's plans to leave the European Union.
At the time of writing, the Pound was up 0.08% to $1.3245, with today's data the key driver, though there is always Brexit chatter to hit the markets.