SINGAPORE (Feb 4): The stock market finished strongly on Jan 31 to cap a big rally at the start of the year after the US Federal Reserve pledged to be patient with further interest rate hikes. Market observers say this could point to an end to its tightening cycle amid signs of slowing global growth.
In a statement on Jan 30, the US central bank said it “will be patient as it determines what future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate may be appropriate”. Notably, the Fed also discarded its promise of “further gradual increases” in interest rates.
Asia stocks rose the day after the announcement, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and Japan’s Nikkei both rising 1.1%, and the Shanghai Composite Index climbing 0.4%. Singapore’s Straits Times Index closed 0.5% higher at 3,190.17 points on Jan 31, rallying some 4% higher for the month after closing at 3,068.76 on Dec 31, 2018.