Asian shares rose Wednesday as strong overnight performances in global equities and firmer economic sentiment in Germany buoyed sentiment, while the dollar was pressured ahead of the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting later in the day.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan nudged up 0.3 percent to a 16-month peak, Reuters reported. The index has hit successive 16-month highs since Dec. 5.

Australian shares rose 0.5 percent to a nearly 17-month high on the back of Wall Street gains and higher iron ore prices. South Korean shares opened up 0.4 percent.

Japan's Nikkei share average opened 0.9 percent higher to a 7-1/2-month high, led by gains in tech shares and other exporters on the weak yen.

The dollar remained broadly under pressure on expectations the Fed will take further monetary easing steps, pushing the currency down to a three-month low against the Australian dollar. The euro popped back above $1.3000, pulling away from a two-week low of $1.2876 plumbed Friday.

The Fed is expected to announce it will buy $45 billion per month of longer-dated Treasuries beginning in January on top of the $40 billion in mortgage-backed security purchases it announced in September. The new buying will replace the Fed's current program, Operation Twist, which expires at the end of December.

Against the yen, the dollar steadied at 82.50 yen. The Japanese currency has also been pressured by expectations for more easing from the Bank of Japan, which meets next week.

Data on Wednesday showed Japan's core machinery orders rose 2.6 percent in October from the previous month, up for the first time in three months but below a 3 percent rise forecast