BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stock markets were boosted for a second day Friday by the incoming Federal Reserve chief's support for continued massive stimulus to aid the U.S. economic recovery.
Janet Yellen, who is slated to replace Ben Bernanke as Fed chief early next year, made clear Thursday that she's prepared to stand by the central bank's extraordinary efforts to pump up the world's No. 1 economy when she's chairman, if that's what it needs.
Yellen embraced her so-called "dovish" reputation and expressed strong support for the Fed's low interest-rate policies during a two-hour confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee. She warned critics that any potential harm those policies pose are outweighed by the risk of leaving a still-weak economy to survive without them.
Her statements convinced markets that the central bank won't reduce its $85 billion of monthly bond purchases until at least March. Previously there were expectations that the bond buying, which has kept interest rates low and sent a wave of investment into higher-yielding stocks, would be scaled back from next month.
Japan's Nikkei 225 added 1.4 percent to 15,081.84 as the yen weakened, trading over 100 to the dollar. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 1 percent to 22,883.23 and Seoul's Kospi gained 1.5 percent to 1,997.56. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.7 percent to 5,390.90. Stock markets in Southeast Asia and mainland China also gained.