Business

Asia markets weighed down by Yellen comments

Japanese shares Image copyright AFP

Asian markets were mostly lower after comments from US Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen reinforced expectations of a US rate rise this month.

Ms Yellen said the US economy had "recovered substantially" and consumer spending was "particularly solid".

After falling at first, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index recovered to close flat at 19,939.90.

Oil prices recovered some ground overnight, having fallen by more than 4% on Wednesday.

US crude had fallen below $40 a barrel at one point, with prices being hit by news of rising stockpiles and the strong dollar.

However, crude prices gained in Asian trade after a report suggested that Saudi Arabia would propose a deal to balance oil markets.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) is due to meet on Friday. The group of countries set oil production levels, which have a significant impact on the price of the commodity.

China bucking trend

Chinese shares reversed earlier losses to head higher in afternoon trade, with the Shanghai Composite index closing up 1.35% at 3,584.82.

Analysts said one factor driving the market could be that some of the $313bn (£209bn) locked in Tuesday's initial public offerings had started to flow back into the market.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed down 0.28% at 22,417.01 in line with the rest of the region.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.6% lower at 5,227.7 on the weakness in commodity prices.

Government data also showed that the value of exports fell by a seasonally-adjusted 3% in October, mainly due to lower demand for commodities such as gold.

In South Korea, the benchmark Kospi index finished down 0.8% at 1,994.07 despite a revision to third quarter growth figures, which indicated the economy was growing faster than anticipated.

The economy grew 1.3% in the three months to September from the previous quarter. That was up from the original estimate of 1.2% and the fastest pace since mid-2010.

On an annual basis, growth rose 2.7%, compared with the initial forecast of 2.6%.

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