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The Federal Open Market Committee indicated that even though it's stepping up the pace of interest-rate hikes, economic growth should continue apace.

But he said "having twice as many press conferences does not signal anything about the timing or the pace of interest rate changes". "The Fed is prepared to be quicker about pushing rates higher".

"The Fed deserves tremendous credit for steering the economy to calmer waters, supporting what is likely to be the longest expansion in US history while meeting inflation and employment objectives", said Stephen Gallagher, chief USA economist at Societe Generale.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised interest rates 0.25 points as the bank aims to prevent a tight labor market from driving inflation to unsustainable levels.

The central bank raised its key short-term rate today by a modest quarter-point to a still-low range of 1.75 percent to 2 percent.

Fed officials expect to raise interest rates at least once more in 2018 and had been split on a possible fourth hike in their last meeting.

The central bank's new median forecast projects the Fed's benchmark rate at 3.1 percent by the end of 2019, up from 2.9 percent in the previous forecast.

Since the Fed began holding quarterly news conferences in 2011, it has announced major policy moves only at the quarterly meetings, which have all been followed by a news conference by leader of the Fed.

In its updated forecasts, the Fed envisions stronger growth this year, with the economy expanding 2.8 percent, up from the 2.7 percent it predicted in March. The committee's forecast for the long-run sustainable growth rate of the economy held at 1.8 per cent, suggesting policy makers are skeptical of the effect of tax cuts on the economy's capacity for growth. Inflation by the Fed's preferred gauge would hit its target of 2 percent this year and edge up to 2.1 percent over the next two years.

"Economic activity has been rising at a "solid" rate, the Fed's statement said, marking an upgrade from "moderate" in the previous statement". "Ongoing job gains are boosting wages and confidence". Officials also said that "indicators of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed". "Recent data suggest that growth of household spending has picked up, while business fixed investment has continued to grow strongly". Fed officials repeated their assessment that "risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced".

That's a welcome change from recent years when Fed policymakers fretted about an inflation rate well below target. The unemployment rate is seen falling to 3.6% in 2018, compared to the 3.8% forecast in March.

The Fed said its policy of further gradual rate increases will be "consistent with a sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labour market conditions, and inflation near the Committee's symmetric 2% objective". More increases are expected this year but the Fed noted "readings on financial and worldwide developments" would factor into its decisions on future increases.

"Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were Jerome H. Powell, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Thomas I. Barkin; Raphael W. Bostic; Lael Brainard; Loretta J. Mester; Randal K. Quarles; and John C. Williams".


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