Thursday, 19 March 2015 14:49
HONG KONG: Hong Kong shares jumped 1.45 percent on Thursday, in line with a broad regional advance after a dovish Federal Reserve statement cooled expectations of an early summer US interest rate hike.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index jumped 348.81 points to 24,468.89 on turnover of HK$ 102.57 billion ($ 13.23 billion). Shanghai ended up 0.14 percent, marking a sixth straight gain. The Fed, after a closely watched two-day meeting, issued a statement that had removed a pledge to remain “patient” on raising rates, signalling a possible mid-year rate increase.
But bank chief Janet Yellen stressed that while jobs were picking up the economy was more muted than three months ago, adding that consumer spending has slipped, inflation slowed, wages are flat, and the stronger dollar has hurt US exports.
The policy committee lowered its rate outlook to 0.5-0.75 percent for the end of this year, from 1.0 percent previously, while also reducing its 2016 forecast to 1.75-2.5 percent from 2.5 percent. It also cut its economic growth forecasts.
Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015