Business

Asian stocks soothed by Yellen comments

People walking past share board Image copyright AP

Asian stocks have risen after the prospects of an early US rate rise diminished following comments from US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen.

Speaking on Monday, Ms Yellen was upbeat about the US economy, but added that Friday's weaker-than-expected jobs figures were "concerning".

Ms Yellen reaffirmed plans to raise rates gradually but did not give a specific timeframe.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.6% to close at 16,675.45.

In China, the Shanghai Composite closed flat at 2,936.04, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng rose 298.02 points, or 1.4%, to 21,328.24.

South Korea's Kospi index gained 1.3% to end the session at 2,011.63.

Bernard Aw, an analyst with IG Markets, said it was clear the Fed thinks "June is not the month to make a move".

"The slightly dovish remarks sat well with the financial markets, prompting a rally in equities."

Both Australia and India kept interest rates on hold on Tuesday, which was in line with market expectations.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) kept borrowing costs at a record low of 1.75%.

"It was clear from the recent run of strong activity data that the RBA was never going to hit the panic button and cut interest rates twice in two months," Paul Dales from Capital Economics said.

Sydney's ASX 200 index closed 0.2% higher at 5,371.03.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept its benchmark repurchase rate at a five-year low of 6.5% after inflation kept within its target range.

Meanwhile questions continue to swirl around whether RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan will be reappointed after his term ends in September.

Earlier today, commodity prices rose by more than 20% from their January lows to climb into a so-called bull market.

The price of raw materials ranging from soybeans to copper all rose overnight according to the Bloomberg Commodity Index.