Asian shares rally after U.S. rate hike expectations scaled back

A man looks at an electronic stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo on Sept 4, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A man looks at an electronic stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo on Sept 4, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (AFP) - Asian markets rallied Thursday following an upswing on Wall Street as minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest meeting indicated policymakers were nervous about hiking interest rates too soon.

The minutes show the central bank board aired worries about the stronger dollar, a stumbling eurozone economy, slowing growth in China and Japan and geopolitical risks.

The news sent the euro up against the greenback and it held on to most of those gains in early Asian trade.

Tokyo rose 0.46 per cent, Hong Kong added 1.21 per cent, Sydney climbed 1.58 per cent and Shanghai was up 0.12 per cent.

Seoul was closed for a public holiday.

Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting showed that despite strong domestic data, members debated changing their signal on the timing of a rate hike owing to problems overseas.

The post-meeting statement said it would wait for some "considerable time" before lifting rates but according to the minutes there were fears that the reference "could be misunderstood as a commitment rather than as data dependent".

The news sent US shares surging, with the Dow up 1.62 per cent, the S&P 500 jumping 1.73 per cent and the Nasdaq climbing 1.90 per cent.