Hong Kong's Hang Seng was also in positive territory, up 0.7 per cent despite the finance ministry saying that the city's economy would shrink by between two and three per cent this year.

Benchmarks elsewhere in the region were also mostly higher, after US stocks bounced back on Tuesday from 12-year lows.

In Australia stocks ended the day down 0.1 per cent, reversing earlier gains as investors refocused on a weaker economic outlook.

"Generally there's no confidence in the market at all, and there's nothing to really drive it," David Spry, a research manager at broker FW Holst, told Reuters.

"There are still sellers around, so when there's a bit of a rally they sell into it."

On Tuesday Bernanke, the US Fed chairman, told congress that the US recession might end this year, and that government regulators were not planning to nationalise banks.

That injection of hope lifted the Dow Jones industrial average by 3.3 per cent and the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index by four per cent on Tuesday, after the indicators hit their lowest close since 1997 on Monday.

Meanwhile, the US dollar hit a three-month high against the Japanese yen in Asian trade on Wednesday after Barack Obama, the US president, pledged to fix the economy.

The dollar jumped to 97.02 yen in Tokyo midday trade from 96.64 in New York late on Tuesday.