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The Federal Reserve's dovish turn supported Asian currencies on Thursday and sent the dollar lower as the move improved sentiment across the region which had been hit hard by the U.S. central bank's tightening cycle a year ago.

Mr. Powell told his media conference that the current level of interest rates is "appropriate for the state of the economy" - in other words is the case for higher rates " as weakened" as he says it has, then the economy has clearly slowed since the third quarter of past year when growth was well above 3% and wages growth was nudging, then breaching the 3% level, along with core inflation which moved above the target level of 2%.

"At the Dec meeting, Powell said the plan was to "have the balance sheet run off on automatic pilot".

MSCI's All Country World Index, which tracks stock markets in 47 countries, came off its highest level since December 4 after its best January gain on record - up 7.79 percent on the month.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe rose 0.02 percent and emerging market stocks fell 0.03 percent. The benchmark Euro Stoxx 50 is up about 0.2%.

Recent data also showed a deep decline in the housing market which is often seen as a canary in the coal mine of the wider economy.

The gains were matched in bond markets.

That said, even with the rate hikes and balance sheet drawdown, the 10-year, 2-year treasuries spread remains positive at about 0.16 percent, indicating there is still some life left in the economic expansion.

But was all pain for the dollar. In December 2018, Trump discussed firing Powell because of widespread losses in the stock market in the last three months of the year.

"Risk assets are dancing in the streets and the dollar's down in the dumps", Societe Generale strategist Kit Juckes said.

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"Westpac still looks for the Fed to resume raising rates this year, given the tight jobs market and likely growth rebound in Q2".

Market watchers were surprised by the Fed's latest signals on its balance-sheet unwind, which suggests the central bank is closer to completion than previously expected. A 7% jump in Apple shares probably has as much influence on the day as the Fed statement.

The main emerging market index skipped to a more than 8 percent January gain while the Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.3 percent despite data showing China's factory activity contracted for a second straight month.

The euro was flat at US$1.1446 after having fallen 0.3 per cent in the last session. Facebook shares then leapt 11 percent after hours after it had reported better-than-expected profits following a year of high profile data scandals.

Investor caution is also mounting ahead of U.S. jobs data later in the session with analysts unsure what impact the government shutdown might have had employment. -China trade deal might be on the cards.

If the two sides can not reach a deal soon, Washington has threatened to more than double tariffs on Chinese goods on March 2.

A day later on Twitter, Trump said, "The United States should not be penalized because we are doing so well".

The optimism supported Wall Street with the S&P 500 ending Thursday with a gain of 0.86 percent.

USA crude futures edged up 5c to $53.87 a barrel, while Brent rose 13c to $60.97.

Turning to the euro, we see upside pressures emerging, but would highlight that the common currency is now more of a "dollar play" as it is lacking positive intrinsic factors given the deterioration in regional economic activity. Chair Jay Powell told his media conference that the case for higher interest rates "has weakened".


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