Nikkei rises 1.1%
Equity markets in Japan were on a tear, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 posting a broad-based rally and the Topix index surging 1.5 percent.
Banks were in demand; Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mizuho Financial closed up more than 2 percent each.
Export-oriented stocks also attracted hefty buy orders. Toyota Motor closed up 1.5 percent on the back of news that it has reopened its Tianjin operations ahead of schedule, while Sony and Canon elevated 3 and 0.9 percent respectively. Consumer staples such as Kikkoman also benefited from renewed weakness in the yen, up 5.9 percent.
Meanwhile, Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda reaffirmed his belief in the central bank's 2 percent inflation target, reiterating that the goal can be achieved next year despite the continued drop in global oil prices. The Japanese central bank expects inflation to hit 2 percent during the April-September first half of next fiscal year, but many analysts see the goal as a tall order.
ASX jumps 1.3%
Australia's S&P ASX 200 index headed north on the back of a pick-up in buying across a majority of sectors.
Australia and New Zealand Banking was the star performer in the banking space, up 1.8 percent. Westpac leaped 1.2 percent, while National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia bounced up 0.5 and 0.4 percent, respectively. Insurer QBE surged nearly 4 percent.
Stronger oil prices also lifted energy counters, with Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search rising 1.7 and 3.2 percent, respectively.
On the earnings front, shares of financial services group Perpetual and clothing retailer Billabong charged up 6.1 and 2.4 percent respectively, following upbeat corporate results.
Kospi gains 0.7%
South Korea's Kospi index settled at a one-week high, a day after posting its biggest single-day rise in two years.
Bargain hunters swooped in on specific stocks such as chipmaker SK Hynix, which bolstered 6.1 percent. Consumer discretionary names such as AmorePacific and LG Household & Healthcare advanced 5.3 and 6.1 percent respectively, while Lotte Shopping firmed up 5.4 percent.
Blue chips fell out of favor on Thursday, thereby limiting the bourse's advances. Market bellwether Hyundai Motor dropped 2 percent, while steelmaker Posco closed down 1.9 percent.
PSI up 2.2%
Philippine shares closed 2.24 percent higher, with the main index recovering from 16-month lows hit on Tuesday, after government data showed the economy grew 5.6 percent from a year ago in the second quarter, in line with expectations.
The country's central bank said it does not see the need for additional stimulus or immediate change to monetary policy.
"Second-quarter GDP came in above our expectations, with household consumption saving the day. Despite the easing in remittance growth, consumption rose suggesting that the domestic sources of income growth are broadening," a note from ANZ said.
However, ANZ analysts sounded a note of caution: "Yet the persistent failure of the government to speed up its spending is now putting a dampener on total investment growth. The wider contraction in net exports implies that the country has succumbed to the regional trade recession"