Asian Stocks Rise after US Fed’s Meeting Confirm Inflation Focus

Shares in Asia and Pacific markets extended on Thursday, led by Hong Kong stocks, following gains for the U.S. Wall Street overnight as investors balanced China’s reopening with cautious commentary from the Federal Reserve’s latest minutes.

As of 9.33 A.M. (Thai time), Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 1.58% due to a positive reading in China’s Caixin services Purchasing Managers’ Index for December, while the island’s S&P Purchasing Managers’ Index showed a slowing in private sector contraction.

Mainland China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.65%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.34%. The Kospi in South Korea rose 0.23%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 inched down fractionally.

As the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s meeting in December were revealed on Wednesday, equities on Wall Street were able to snap a two-day losing streak overnight. The minutes highlighted that higher interest rates are expected to continue as long as inflation remains high.

Many Fed officials emphasized the importance of containing inflation without significantly slowing the economy, which encouraged some investors. However, policymakers were concerned that a strong labor market and looser financial conditions, including market expectations for rate reduction this year, would jeopardize the goal of containing growing consumer prices.