Asian markets lifted by US Federal Reserve decision to hold rates

Jessica Morris
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The Fed cited heightened concerns about China and other emerging market economies (Source: Getty)

Asian markets were higher this morning after the Federal Reserve held fire on interest rates last night amid fresh concerns over the global economy.

Japan's Nikkei slipped 1.4 per cent, but elsewhere most shares were up. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.3 per cent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index shrugged off earlier losses to trade 0.2 per cent higher.

In a rare move, the Fed pointed to global risks when explaining why it had delayed what would have been the first interest rate hike in nearly a decade. This led many to conclude that China’s market slide last month had raised red flags for Fed officials.

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"Heightened concerns about growth in China and other emerging market economies have led to notable volatility in financial markets," the Fed said in its policy statement after a two-day FOMC meeting. It added the risks to the US economy remained nearly balanced, but that it was “monitoring developments abroad”.

Chris Weston, a market analyst at spreadbetter IG, said: "It seems logical the central bank would have raised rates if it weren’t for recent international development, but they tried desperately to buy themselves flexibility."

"This was shown in the narrative where they detailed they are ‘monitoring developments abroad'".

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