Asian stocks bounce back ahead of Fed statement

<p>Investors await a US Fed statement on monetary policy.</p>

Asian stocks were mostly higher today (December 17th) despite tumbling oil prices, as investors await a US Federal Reserve statement due later today on monetary policy.

With a drop in oil prices accelerating and Russia's increasing economic woes, analysts expect that the US Federal Reserve will maintain its stance on keeping interest rates low for a "considerable amount of time".

The rouble dropped 20 per cent due to lower oil prices and Western sanctions over Russia's conflict with Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank today trimmed its growth forecast for developing Asia for 2014 and 2015.

"While growth in the first three quarters of this year was somewhat softer than we had expected, declining oil prices may mean an upside surprise in 2015 as most economies are oil importers," said ADB chief economist Shang-Jin Wei, quoted by Alliance News.

China's Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.6 per cent to 3,040.88 and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 0.4 per cent to 16,825.21. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.6 per cent at 22,538. 

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