Asian markets: China Shanghai Composite gains on US Fed chairperson Janet Yellen’s comments
Barring Japan, Asian stock market indices were trading higher on 30 March 2016Reuters

Barring Japan, Asian stock market indices were trading higher, with China's Shanghai Composite Index up 1.99% at 2,977.95 on Wednesday, 30 March at 5.45am GMT. This followed dovish comments by US Fed chairperson Janet Yellen which indicated that the chances of an increase in interest rates next month were low.

Overnight, speaking to the Economic Club of New York, Yellen acknowledged global uncertainty over growth and inflation. She said it was most apt for policymakers to proceed cautiously on tightening monetary policy.

"By contrast, if the expansion was to falter or if inflation was to remain stubbornly low, the FOMC would be able to provide only a modest degree of additional stimulus by cutting the federal funds rate back to near zero," Yellen said.

Michael Gapen, chief US economist at Barclays said: "Her comments stand somewhat in contrast to recent remarks by other FOMC members and are more clear in respect to downside risk factors. Hence, we see the comments as an effort to exert control over the message and, in doing so, tilt expectations for policy rate hikes in a decidedly dovish direction."

Indices in the rest of Asia traded as follows on 30 March at 5.56am GMT:

CountryIndexPriceUp/Down%Change
Hong KongHang Seng Index20,658.97Up1.44%
JapanNikkei 22516,918.31Down1.08%
South KoreaKOSPI1,999.84Up0.25%
IndiaCNX Nifty7,671.95Up0.99%
AustraliaS&P/ASX 2005,010.30Up0.12%

Overnight (29 March), the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17,633.11 up 0.56%, while the FTSE 100 closed lower by 0.01% at 6,105.90.

Barclays recently warned that prices of commodities such as oil and copper could decline by as much as 25%. On 30 March, WTI crude oil was trading 0.99% higher at $38.66 (£26.85, €34.19) a barrel, while Brent was up 0.69% at $39.41 a barrel at 6.12am GMT.

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