Janet Yellen
The outcome of the US Fed’s policy meeting will be announced at 19:00 GMT followed by Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen's news conference 30 minutes later Reuters

Most Asian stock market indices were trading higher on Wednesday (14 December), with the Shanghai Composite up 0.30% at 3,164.36 as of 5.38am GMT ahead of the US Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates.

The outcome of the American central bank's policy meeting is slated to be announced at 19:00 GMT. This is expected to be followed by Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen's news conference 30 minutes later.

Most investors are said to be certain the Fed would raise rates later in the day. While this would mark the first such increase in a year, the expectation of a quarter point increase and two to three rate increases in 2017 are said to have already been fully priced in by the financial markets.

"Investors are looking for two hikes next year at the moment but if that starts to change, then it could impact asset allocation around the world," Joshua Crabb, head of Asian equities at Old Mutual Global Investors, was quoted as saying by CNBC.

Investors are said to be more concerned about forward guidance from the US central bank and failure could dampen sentiments.

"As most FOMC participants are likely to wait for more specifics on Trump's fiscal policy initiatives before formally altering their forecasts, markets may be disappointed by the lack of additional insight provided," Michelle Girard, chief US economist at RBSM was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Indices in the region were trading as follows at 5.41am GMT:

Hong KongHang Seng Index22,560.51Up0.51%
JapanNikkei 22519,266.14Up0.08%
South KoreaKOSPI2,037.41Up0.07%
AustraliaS&P/ASX 2005,584.60Up0.71%

On 13 December, the FTSE 100 closed 1.13% higher at 6,968.57, while the S&P 500 Index closed 0.65% higher at 2,271.72

Among commodities, oil prices declined amid profit-taking after data showed that there was an increase in US crude inventories. As of 5.59am GMT, WTI crude oil was trading lower by 1.32% at $52.28 (£41.31) a barrel, while Brent crude was trading 1.22% lower at $55.04 a barrel.