Fed relief lifts Asian stocks, dents dollar

Fed relief lifts Asian stocks, dents dollar

TOKYO - Most Asian stock markets rose and the dollar dipped on Thursday after the Federal Reserve indicated it was in no rush to begin raising interest rates, even as it began to plan an exit strategy from an era of loose monetary policy.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.3 per cent.

European shares looked set to follow suit, with Germany's DAX seen rising up to 0.1 per cent, though US stock futures were marginally weaker.

Tokyo's Nikkei bucked the trend and fell 0.3 per cent, weighed down by a record drop in machinery orders in May that cast doubt over the outlook for capital spending and the strength of its economic recovery.

China's exports in June also missed market forecasts, but caused limited reaction in regional markets as it reinforced expectations that Beijing will have to unveil more stimulus measures to stabilise the economy and meet its 2014 growth target.

"The trade figures were not so exciting. It's still unrealistic to count on exports to be an important contributor to economic growth," said Wang Jun, an economist at the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges in Beijing.

"The import figure showed some signs of improvement on domestic demand. Taken together with weak inflation data, we think domestic demand remains weak. It would be relatively difficult for China to achieve its annual trade growth target of 7.5 per cent in 2014."

Indonesian stocks hit their highest in over a year as the market welcomed the prospect of reform-minded Jakarta Governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo becoming the next president, although his rival has refused to concede defeat after Wednesday's election.

The Jakarta market was up 1.7 per cent after earlier rising more than 2 per cent. The Indonesian rupiah also gained 0.6 per cent to 11,555 to the dollar.

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