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

While majority of the Asian stock market indices were trading higher on 25 May, the Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.29% at 2,813.51 as of 6.08am GMT. This followed a positive close on the Wall Street overnight amid positive US data.

On 24 May, US data revealed there was an improvement in the month of April with regards to new home sales. Purchases of new, single-family homes increased to 619,000 units in the month. This was a 16.6% gain from a month earlier and marked the highest new home sales since January 2008.

Asian markets: Shanghai Composite slips despite positive US new home sales data
Majority of the Asian stock market indices were trading higher on 25 May 2016 Reuters

This gave confidence to investors in the world's largest economy. It also reduced their fears that the economy was not resilient enough to withstand an increase in interest rates, which could be implemented as early as June, according to hawkish comments by a few members of the US Federal Reserve.

Kathy Lien, managing director for foreign exchange strategy at BK Asset Management, said the positive US data "validated the Federal Reserve's hawkish monetary policy stance. As more central bankers say that two or more hikes in 2016 is likely, the more investors start to realize that they are underestimating the Fed's commitment to normalizing monetary policy."

Indices in the rest of Asia traded as follows on 25 May at 6.21am GMT:

Hong KongHang Seng Index20,318.94Up2.46%
JapanNikkei 22516,757.35Up1.57%
South KoreaKOSPI1,960.51Up1.18%
IndiaCNX Nifty7,882.25Up1.72%
AustraliaS&P/ASX 2005,372.50Up1.45%

Overnight, (24 May), the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17,706.05, up 1.12%, while the FTSE 100 closed at 6,219.26, up 1.35%.

Among commodities, oil prices traded higher after the American Petroleum Institute revealed that US crude inventories declined by 5.1 million barrels last week, beating analyst expectations. On 25 May, WTI crude oil was trading 1.30% higher at $49.25 (£33.69, €44.17) a barrel, while Brent was trading 1.21% higher at $49.20 a barrel at 6.31am GMT.