HONG KONG, Dec 18: Asian markets rallied today with investors rushing back after a recent sell-off, spurred by a Wall Street recovery and an indication from the US Federal Reserve that interest rates will not likely rise until mid-2015.
While bank policymakers were reticent to give a firm date, their language indicated a change in tack, which analysts said suggested a rise in the first six months of the year. That lit a fire under the dollar.
Easing concerns about Russia's economy and a pick-up in oil prices also provided support to regional shares, with bargain-buyers making their move.
Tokyo climbed 2.32 percent, or 390.32 points, to 17,210.05 as the greenback advanced against the dollar, while Sydney jumped 0.95 percent, or 48.9 points, to close at 5,210.8.
In late trade Hong Kong was 1.02 percent higher and Shanghai added 0.66 percent. However, Seoul bucked the trend to end 0.14 percent lower, dipping 2.66 points to 1,897.50.
The Fed's policy committee said it "judges that it can be patient in beginning to normalise the stance of monetary policy", adding that the decision will depend on economic data. Policy, it said, was consistent with its prior statement that it would only begin raising rates "a considerable time" after its massive stimulus programme ended in October.
Although the change in language was subtle, "it was nevertheless a modification consistent with the view that rates are likely to rise in the first half of next year", said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange.
The news sent US shares surging. The Dow rose 1.69 percent, the S&P 500 soared 2.04 percent and the Nasdaq jumped 2.12 percent.