06:36 AM EDT, 05/13/2022 (MT Newswires) -- Asia's stock markets broadly rallied Friday after China officials said anti-pandemic lockdowns may ease, and after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Thursday suggested that larger, 0.75% rate hikes by US central bank are not on the table. Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo all finished in the green, as did regional exchanges excepting Mumbai and Bangkok.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 opened higher and rose to the close, finishing up 2.6% as traders weighed earnings reports and bought shares beaten down in recent bear moves. Wall Street futures tracked higher during Tokyo trading hours, boosting sentiments.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 678.93 to 26,427.65, as gaining issues outnumbered losers 174 to 49.
The Nikkei 225 is off 8.2% year-to-date.
In other news, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said reducing monetary easing is not appropriate for Japan, reported Kyodo News. While inflation recently has edged up in Japan towards the central bank's 2% target, the price increases are largely due to higher energy and commodity prices, and whether price hikes will become "broad-based" is not yet determined, said Kuroda.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index opened higher and tracked north through the day, finishing up 2.7%. Property and tech issues paced gainers.
The broad gauge Hang Seng rose 518.43 to 19,898.77, as gaining issues outnumbered losers 63 to three. The Hang Seng TECH Index rose 4.5% on the day, while the Mainland Properties Index rose 5.3%.
The Hang Seng is down 14.9% year-to-date.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite rose 1% to 3,084.28.
In other news, officials in Shanghai indicated the city may ease lockdowns by May 20, reported the South China Morning Post.
On the other exchanges, the S. Korean KOSPI rose 2%; the Taiwan TWSE gained 1.4%; the Australian ASX 200 increased 1.9%; the Singapore Straits Times Index rose 0.8%, and the Thai Set was flat. In late trading in Mumbai, the Sensex was off 0.3%.
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