HONG KONG: Asian markets rose Thursday following a cautiously upbeat assessment of the US economy by the Federal Reserve and comments from its chairman that he would provide more support if necessary.
Foreign exchange traders remained bullish ahead of a policy meeting at the Bank of Japan on Friday, with many expecting further monetary easing.
Tokyo gained 0.11 percent by the break, Hong Kong added 0.60 percent, Sydney was 0.50 percent higher, Seoul climbed 0.33 percent and Shanghai was flat.
While the Fed Wednesday said it would keep interest rates at super-low levels until at least 2014, it forecast the world's biggest economy would grow more than first stated this year while unemployment would continue to fall.
However, it held off unleashing any more stimulus measures for now, instead sticking to its current loosening policy despite recent data showing the big pick-up in job creation had slowed.
After the two-day meeting chairman Ben Bernanke said further spending would be "reckless" but added that he was ready to use whatever tools he had at his disposal at any moment.
"We would not hesitate to use them should the economy require that additional support," he said.
The news gave extra lift to Wall Street's main indexes, which were already on a roll following spectacular first-quarter earnings reports from Apple and Boeing.
The Dow climbed 0.69 percent, the Nasdaq jumped 2.30 percent and the S&P 500 jumped 1.36 percent.
Eyes are now on Tokyo, where the Japanese central bank is likely to hold interest rates at near zero but markets are hoping for another liquidity injection as the economy's recovery stutters. (AFP)