Most Asian stock market indices were trading higher on Thursday (9 February), with the Shanghai Composite up 0.38% at 3,179.01 as of 5.10am GMT following the central banks of India and New Zealand keeping interest rates steady.

On Thursday, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand held its official cash rate (OCR) at a record low 1.75% in its first review of the year. It, however, signalled that the next move is likely to be a rise, but not anytime soon.

The Reserve Bank of India kept its repo rate steady at 6.25% on Wednesday. While the move was unexpected, it is said to be awaiting more clarity on inflation trends and on how the country's economy has been impacted by the recent demonetisation.

Economists at JPMorgan were cited by CNBC as saying: "The [RBI] is set to dramatically undershoot its immediate objective of 5% inflation this quarter, which had fuelled expectations for a rate cut today or else in April."

Renewed confidence in China's economy also aided the sentiments. Analysts said they were now more optimistic of corporate earnings in the world's second largest economy amid the recent rally in commodity prices coupled with policy tightening measures undertaken by Beijing.

"In China we have an overweight view on equities as we see improved corporate earnings outlook with the Chinese PPI (producer price index) turning around from deflation trend," Fan Cheuk Wan, head of investment strategy for Asia at HSBC Private Bank, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Indices in the region were trading as follows at 5.34am GMT:

CountryIndexPriceUp/Down%Change
Hong KongHang Seng Index23,554.81Up0.30%
JapanNikkei 22518,911.79Down0.50%
South KoreaKOSPI2,071.29Up0.30%
IndiaBSE28,235.58Down0.19%
AustraliaS&P/ASX 2005,664.60Up0.23%

On 8 February, the FTSE 100 Index closed 0.04% higher at 7,188.82, while the S&P 500 index closed 0.07% higher at 2,294.67.

Among commodities, oil prices were back in the green amid short-covering by investors and an unexpected draw in US gasoline inventories. As of 12.27am EST, WTI crude oil was up 0.53% at $52.62 (£42.07) a barrel, while Brent crude was trading 0.56% higher at $55.43 a barrel.