Asian stocks rose to more than 15-month highs on Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke repeated the central bank was likely to keep interest rates at very low levels for some time, keeping the dollar pinned near 15-month lows and gold close to record highs.

Investors were also focused on U.S. President Barack Obama's summit meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao later in the day, especially on possible remarks from the leaders on the value of the yuan.

The MSCI index of Asia Pacific stocks traded outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> rose 0.4 percent to 416.89 points, its highest since late July last year.

Japan's Nikkei average <.N225> edged up 0.2 percent, with gains for commodities-linked shares on a surge in oil and gold prices offsetting pressure from the yen's rise to a near one-month high against the dollar.

The U.S. dollar index <.DXY> stood at 74.919, off 15-month lows hit overnight, but its broad downtrend was intact on a growing view that U.S. interest rates are likely to stay low for a while.

The Fed has no intention of pre-empting anything looking forward or risk managing anything, said Adam Carr, senior economist at ICAP in Sydney, while commenting on Bernanke's remarks overnight.

Bernanke acknowledged in a speech that the dollar's slump was raising some prices but said other factors restraining inflation were winning the day, helping reinforce the market's already benign view toward U.S. interest rates.

His remarks and better-than-expected U.S. retail sales data fueled broad gains on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rising 1.3 percent and the S&P 500 climbing 1.5 percent. <.N>

Gold took a breather after a record-setting rally and was quoted at $1,137.60/8/40 an ounce in early Tuesday trade, off a fresh high of $1,143.25 set on Monday, although bullion continued to be supported by the dollar's weak outlook.

U.S. crude futures hovered around $79 a barrel, after settling more than 3 percent higher the previous day, as investors awaited industry data on U.S. stockpiles later in the day to gauge oil demand.

(Additional reporting by Anirban Nag in SYDNEY; Editing by Kim Coghill)