BEIJING (AP) – Asian stock markets rose Thursday after U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke promised to continue to stimulate the economy.
Oil stayed above $106 a barrel, near the highest level in more than a year, on hopes of stronger U.S. demand.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.8 percent to 21,283.68 and Seoul’s Kospi added 2 percent to 1,860.85. China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.3 percent to 2,034.25. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was the only holdout, flat at 14,416.61.
Markets rebounded from caution a day earlier over unexpectedly weak Chinese trade figures that suggested the world’s second-largest economy is slowing even more abruptly than forecast.
“In one short and sweet statement, Federal Reserve chairman Bernanke has flicked a switch on the markets,” said strategist Evan Lucas of Australia’s IG Markets in a report.
Bernanke said Wednesday the U.S. needs “highly accommodative monetary policy”
or low interest rates “for the foreseeable future.”