Most Asian stock market indices were trading higher on Wednesday (1 February), with the Shanghai Composite being closed on account of a public holiday. The bullish trend follows two days of consecutive declines and comes following positive data being reported by China.
On Wednesday, the world's second biggest economy reported positive manufacturing and services data. While its official manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) was reported at 51.3 in January, its services sector PMI came in at 54.6 for the same month. A reading above 50 is considered as expansion.
This is said to have had a positive impact on investor sentiment. Commenting on the Chinese data, Margaret Yang, market analyst at CMC Markets, was cited by CNBC as saying, "This marks six consecutive months of expansion in the country's manufacturing sector and shows further stabilization of Asia's largest economy."
The bullish trend also comes ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting announcement, that is expected later in the day. The FOMC is the branch of the US Federal Reserve board that determines the direction of monetary policy. It is composed of the board of governors, which has seven members, and five Reserve Bank presidents.
Investors are said to be awaiting the outcome of this meeting to see if any information is provided on future rate hikes by the US central bank. They are also said to be interested in knowing if President Donald Trump's protectionism will have any effect on the US Fed's decisions.
The bullish trend also follows Trump saying on Tuesday that both Japan and China were devaluing their currencies to gain a trade advantage, suggesting that the Trump administration would prefer a weaker US dollar.
Indices in the region were trading as follows at 4.55am GMT:
|Hong Kong||Hang Seng Index||23,195.23||Down||0.71%|
On 31 January, the FTSE 100 Index closed 0.27% lower at 7,099.15, while the S&P 500 index closed 0.09% lower at 2,278.87.
Among commodities, oil prices were in the red. As of 5.04am GMT, WTI Crude Oil was down 0.17% at $52.72 (£41.93) a barrel, while Brent Crude was trading 0.25% lower at $55.44 a barrel.