Patheon NV
Traders work at the post where shares of Patheon NV is traded on the floor of the New York Stock ExchangeReuters

Asian shares reached a four-week high on Tuesday, tracking strong gains in the U.S. equities as investors await the first public comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell later in the day.

A barrage of economic data is lined up this week, including the U.S. inflation report and the first House testimony by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Powell's comments could shed some light on the ongoing debate over the pace of rate hikes this year and beyond.

Fed officials last week agreed that "the strengthening in the near-term economic outlook increased the likelihood that a gradual upward trajectory of the federal funds rate would be appropriate."

Three rate rises are now almost fully priced in for this year, compared to two as recently as December.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3 percent, building on its bounce from a two-month low touched on Feb 9. Japan's Nikkei rose 1.0 percent to three-week highs.

The gains followed Wall Street, where the S&P 500 advanced 1.18 percent due to fall in U.S. bond yields.

Back home, SGX Nifty, an early indicator of the Nifty 50's trend in India, signals a positive start for the domestic markets after the benchmark Sensex climbed 303 points or 0.89 percent to close at 34,445 on Monday.

The partially convertible rupee closed at 64.80 on Monday, down 0.09 percent from its previous close of 64.73.

So far this year, the rupee weakened 1.1 percent, while foreign investors have bought $548 million and $1.6 billion in equity and debt markets, respectively.

GDP data: Government will release GDP data on Wednesday for the December quarter. According to Bloomberg analysts, GDP may rise 6.9 percent from 6.3 percent in the previous quarter.

Powell's testimony: Markets may well get a jolt of additional information on the outlook for U.S. interest rates as newly appointed Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell presents his first semi-annual testimony starting on Tuesday to both the houses of the U.S. Congress.

Crude check: Brent crude was unchanged at $67.50 per barrel while the West Texas Intermediate crude edged up 0.06 percent to $63.95 a barrel.