Business

Asia markets get lift after US holds interest rates

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fed chair Janet Yellen is worried about the weak global economy

Asian stock markets mostly tracked the gains made on Wall Street after the US central bank took a more cautious approach to its monetary policy.

The Federal Reserve scaled back the number of interest rate rises it expects to make this year because of concerns over the global economy.

China's Shanghai Composite rose 1.2% to 2,904.83 while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng climbed 1% to 20,460.92.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index closed 1% higher at 5,168.15.

In South Korea, the Kospi index climbed 0.7% to 1,987.99.

However, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.1% to 16,936.38 as the yen strengthened against the dollar.

With fewer US rate rises now being predicted this year, the US dollar weakened against Asian currencies.

"A risk in recent times has been that a too-aggressive Fed will threaten the global outlook by further pushing up the US dollar which in turn would threaten US growth, put more downwards pressure on oil prices and hence energy producers and add to the risk of a funding crisis in the emerging world," Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital in Sydney said.

"By continuing to indicate that it is conscious of global risks and that US rate hikes will be data dependent and gradual, the Fed is clearly indicating that it is not going to do anything to consciously threaten the global and US outlook."

Among individual shares, Toshiba fell nearly 10% following a report that the Japanese company is under investigation in the US over its accounting practices.

According to Bloomberg News, the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are looking into allegations it hid more than $1bn in losses at its nuclear power operations.

In 2015, Toshiba revealed that it had inflated profits for almost seven years leading to a major restructuring, record fine in Japan and the resignations of its top several executives.