Asian Stocks Rally ahead of U.S. Fed’s Key Rate Decision

Markets in Asia remained positive on Wednesday as worries over global financial stability subsided ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s meeting to decide on a rate hike later today.

As of 9.34 A.M. Bangkok time, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index up 2.25%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was 1.85% higher.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.03%, while in South Korea, the Kospi added 0.94%.

In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite gained 0.47%.

Overnight, all three main US indices advanced as Wall Street continued its Monday rise, with the S&P 500 adding 1.3% to end at 4,002.87, its first close above the 4,000 level since March 6.

U.S. gains were led by the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s 0.98 point increase and the Nasdaq Composite’s 1.58 point increase.

Shares of U.S. local banks appeared to respond positively to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s comments that the government may back up deposits at other U.S. institutions in a similar way to Silicon Valley Bank.

However, regional U.S. banks remained under pressure, with shares of First Republic Bank falling on reports that the government would be engaged in a rescue arrangement, potentially harming shareholders.

Traders have increased the probability that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates by 25 basis points after initially pricing in both a hike and a pause.

For the first time since late December, the Federal Reserve is expected to release new rate estimates, signaling whether further rate hikes are still expected for the remainder of 2023.