Asian Shares Fluctuate Ahead of Fed Decision; China Erases Loss

All eyes on what FOMC's Janet Yellen will announce on the interest rate policy by Thursday morning

Members of the Fed project two more rate hikes this year, which would bring the target range for the federal funds rate to 1.25 to 1.50 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 2.1 per cent to 24,288.28 and Seoul's Kospi rose 0.8 per cent to 2,150.08.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.84 per cent, or 27.18 points, to 3,268.94 and the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, climbed 0.96 per cent, or 19.55 points, to 2,046.31. The European and USA markets were up and the Asian bourses figure to follow suit. "The Fed chair had reiterated that the committee expects a "gradual increase" in rates on the back of evolving economic conditions and monetary policy "remains accommodative" at present".

Brent futures had yet to be traded yet after settling down 43 cents at $50.92 on Tuesday, the lowest finish since November, after industry body OPEC reported a rise in global crude stocks. Wilders campaigned on pledges to close borders to migrants from Muslim nations, close mosques, ban the Qur'an and take the Netherlands out of the EU.

FOLLOWING THE FED 1: China's central bank raised a short-term interest rate on lending to banks but left its benchmark rate unchanged following the US increase.

China Unicom jumped 5.2 percent, shaking off profit drop to settle at a near one-year high.

A worrying drop in global oil prices, hoever, has cast doubt on how much Asian policymakers are likely to raise interest rates this year to maintain their premium over U.S. rates. The bank cited the U.S. Federal Reserve's Wednesday rate hike and improved Chinese economic conditions.

The Fed raised its benchmark policy rate by 25 basis points, which had been largely factored into markets, traders said. The Asian finance hub's currency is pegged to the dollar, which means authorities copy USA monetary policy.

Policy decisions at the Bank of England and the Japanese central bank along side a Dutch election vote within the next 36 hours were further reasons for investors' caution. Higher rates would make the USA more attractive and could siphon away capital from emerging markets and weaken their currencies. Interest rates are near zero with the goal of stimulating inflation to encourage businesses and consumers to borrow and spend.

ENERGY: Oil prices recouped some losses after a slump in USA trading fueled by oversupply concerns. The contract soared $1.14 on Wednesday to $48.86. Brent crude, which is used to price worldwide oils, added 67 cents to $51.59 per barrel in London.

CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 113.40 yen from Wednesday's 113.38 yen. The euro edged down to $1.0719 from $1.0732.

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