Asia stocks rise on Fed relief, dollar dips

TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian equities rose and the dollar dipped on Thursday, after the Federal Reserve indicated that it was not in a rush to end quantitative easing and begin hiking rates.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.2 per cent.

Tokyo's Nikkei rose 0.1 per cent, despite a sharp drop in machinery orders reported minutes before the opening bell.

Japan's core machinery orders unexpectedly fell 19.5 per cent in May from the previous month, casting doubt over the outlook for a pickup in capital spending.

But markets were more focused on the Fed.

According to minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting released on Wednesday, the central bank acknowledged the recent strengthening in the US economy but suggested it was unlikely to raise policy rates until the second half of 2015.

"The Fed Minutes did not deliver anything new. In practice this is dovish as almost all market participants who expected a shift from the statement/press conference were on the hawkish side," strategists at CitiFX wrote in a note to clients.

"No one expected a more dovish message so the hawks are caught offside."

The absence of a more hawkish message from the Fed eased worries over interest rate hikes and helped Wall Street snap a two-day slide on Wednesday, while driving U.S. Treasury yields lower.

The dollar slipped 0.1 per cent to 101.58 yen, weighed by lower Treasury yields. The yen was little fazed by the machinery order decline.

The euro stood little changed at US$1.3643 after gaining more than 0.2 per cent against the greenback the previous day.

Traders were also awaiting China trade data. The data will give the markets a chance to gauge whether a recovery is taking hold in the world's second-largest economy following a flurry of government stimulus.

China's exports are forecast to rise 10.6 per cent in June from a year ago, faster than May's 7 percent expansion and the best showing in five months. Imports likely snapped back into positive territory, growing 5.8 per cent, after May's 1.6 per cent drop.

In commodities, crude oil extended losses after falling on faltering US demand for gasoline and a Libyan oil field resuming output.

U.S. crude fell 0.45 per cent to US$101.83 per barrel.

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