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Asian markets extend gains after Fed statement


[HONG KONG] Asian markets rallied for a second straight session on Friday, boosted by another strong performance on Wall Street while renewed confidence helped push the dollar back towards the 100 yen mark Tokyo jumped 1.59 per cent thanks to the weaker yen, while Sydney climbed 1.66 per cent, Seoul rose 1.29 per cent and Hong Kong added 1.43 per cent. Shanghai eased 0.20 per cent.

Global markets tanked at the start of the week on fears about the global economy as oil prices plunged and crude exporter Russia was also hammered by Western sanctions over Ukraine.

However, they have rebounded over the past few days in response to a Federal Reserve statement Wednesday indicating interest rates would be hiked no sooner than mid-2015.

On Wall Street the Dow surged 2.43 per cent, the S&P 500 shot up 2.40 per cent - the first time since 2002 the index has risen more than two percent on successive days - and the Nasdaq gained 2.24 per cent.

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The Fed's stance brought relief to emerging markets, which have seen huge capital outflows as traders return to the United States in expectation of better returns.

Brokerage IG said it expects "emerging markets to continue their run as they track the momentum seen in major global markets".

Currency traders have also returned to the dollar after it tumbled earlier in the week against the yen, which is considered a safe bet in times of turmoil.

The greenback - which fell to as low as 116.30 yen Wednesday - was at 118.92 yen early Friday, compared with 118.81 yen in New York.

The euro bought $1.2286 and 146.11 yen against US$1.2287 and 146.00 yen in US trade Oil prices tacked higher after plumbing new five-and-a-half-year lows Thursday on the back of a supply glut.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for January delivery rose 84 US cents to US$54.95 while Brent crude gained 60 US cents to US$59.87.

Gold was at US$1,197.95 an ounce, compared with US$1,210.13 on late Thursday.