Fed’s Janet Yellen says US still on track for more rate hikesIBTimes UK

The majority of Asian stock market indices were trading higher on 30 May with the Shanghai Composite Index up 0.18% at 2,826.22 as of 6.30am GMT. This followed hawkish comments by Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen, on 27 May.

Yellen, who is in her third year as Fed chair, had said interest rates could be increased in the coming months, provided there is an improvement in the economy. "It's appropriate, and I've said this in the past, I think for the Fed to gradually and cautiously increase our overnight interest rate over time and probably in the coming months, such a move would be appropriate," Yellen had added.

Asian markets: Shanghai Composite gains following Janet Yellen suggesting a potential Fed rate increase
Majority of the Asian stock market indices were trading higher on 30 May 2016Reuters

The Fed chair had also cautioned that the US central bank should not raise rates at a quick pace, as it could result in an economic slowdown. "If we were to raise interest rates too steeply and we were to trigger a downturn or contribute to a downturn, we have limited scope for responding, and it is an important reason for caution," Yellen had explained.

Reacting to these comments, Michiro Naito, executive director at equity derivatives and quantitative strategies at JPMorgan, said: "The market is scared of 'negative surprises'". Investors would still be hesitant to take large positions with the Fed's decision looming, Naito added.

Indices in rest of Asia traded as follows on 30 May at 6.38am GMT:

CountryIndexPriceUp/Down%Change
Hong KongHang Seng Index20,679.01UP0.50%
JapanNikkei 22517,068.02UP1.39%
South KoreaKOSPI1,967.13DOWN0.10%
IndiaCNX Nifty8,175.55UP0.24%
AustraliaS&P/ASX 2005,408.00UP0.04%

Last week (27 May), the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17,873.22, up 0.25%, while the FTSE 100 closed at 6,270.79, up 0.08%.

Among commodities, oil prices which recently touched a seven-month high, were trading lower. On 30 May, WTI crude oil was trading 0.24% lower at $49.21 (£33.68, €44.27) a barrel, while Brent was trading 0.49% lower at $49.08 a barrel at 6.44am GMT.