US Federal Reserve
Fed chair Janet Yellen said rate increases were required to keep the economy from overheating Reuters

Asian stock market indices were trading higher on Thursday (22 September), with the Shanghai Composite up 0.75% at 3,048.61 as of 4.56am GMT, following the US Federal Reserve's decision to keep interest rates steady.

Speaking after the central bank's September policy meeting concluded, Fed chairperson Janet Yellen said: "We judged that the case for an increase has strengthened but decided for the time being to wait...The economy has a little more room to run."

The Fed signalled that it could still increase rates before the end of 2016, provided there is an improvement in the labour market. Yellen said she expects one rate increase in 2016 as such increases are required to keep the economy from overheating and to avoid high inflation.

Apart from the current year, the central bank hinted that it would be less aggressive in introducing rate cuts in 2017 and 2018. It reduced its longer-run interest rate forecast from 3% to 2.9%.

Reuters cited Daniel Morris, strategist at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, as saying: "The market got what it expected/wanted....Another dose of central bank support for markets following the Bank of Japan meeting."

Indices in the region were trading as follows at 5.27am GMT:

Hong KongHang Seng Index23,873.23Up0.86%
JapanNikkei 225 (Holiday)
South KoreaKOSPI2,057.21Up1.04%
IndiaCNX Nifty8,865.20Up1%
AustraliaS&P/ASX 2005,388.70Up0.92%

Overnight (21 September), the FTSE 100 closed 0.06% higher at 6,834.77, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed higher by 0.90% at 18,293.70.

Among commodities, oil prices gained after data showed a third weekly drop in US crude inventory. While WTI crude oil was trading higher by 1.04% at $45.81 (£35.1) a barrel, Brent crude was trading 0.96% higher at $47.28 a barrel as of 5.38am GMT.