Ms. Yellen’s message came as a relief to equity investors, as stocks’ rise to historic highs has been helped by cheap money. The Bank of Korea raised its 2017 growth forecast Thursday but left rates unchanged as expected—signaling it is in no rush to change its stance despite an improved outlook—after the Bank of Canada raised rates overnight.
At the midday break in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index was up 1.1% at a two-year intraday high. Korea’s Kospi was up 1.1% after the rate decision. Samsung Electronics ,which dominates the index, was recently 1.8% higher.
Ms. Yellen’s comments sent the U.S. dollar weaker overnight, and while it recovered some early in Asian trade, the declines resumed in the late morning. The WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the U.S. dollar against 16 other currencies, was down 0.2% at 87.86, moving below its New York close, which was the fourth-lowest of the year.
“The big headline risk is U.S. inflation data and you are seeing a bit of positioning” for a weaker dollar, said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia at forex broker Oanda.