Fed interest rate: Federal Reserve hikes interest rate another quarter point today

Federal Reserve expected to hike rates as Sterling slips

Fed raises interest rates as unemployment nears record lows | TheHill

"The central bank raised its benchmark short-term interest rate a quarter of a percentage point on Wednesday, and indicated two more hikes will likely come this year", writes CNBC. Economists generally expect growth to remain above 3 percent through year end, while Fed policymakers raised their forecast a touch to 2.8 percent on Wednesday.

"When you look more closely, only eight board members saw two more hikes by the end of year, compared to seven who saw one hike". The central bank is aiming to keep record low unemployment and a glut of federal spending from pushing inflation beyond the Fed's 2 percent target. But that exorbitant rate is likely to go up to 15.57% within two billing cycles, CompareCards says, as lenders pass along the higher rates to clients.

Trump's imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports has enraged USA allies.

The Fed's twin mandate is to bolster employment while controlling inflation, and in the current environment more rate rises appear inevitable.

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The tighter policy reflects expectations for stronger growth, lower unemployment and faster inflation than officials had anticipated in March.

The change will start in January following the meetings that are scheduled roughly once every six weeks, to give the Fed "more opportunities to explain our actions", Mr Powell told reporters.

"The Fed's path of gradual rate hikes and slow (balance) sheet reduction seems well established at this point".

In addition to a new dot plot, the Fed updated its forecasts for economic growth and inflation.

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Yields have been climbing this year, as markets position for a relatively more aggressive Fed amid inflation concerns. Consumer and business spending is powering the economy, in part a result of the tax cut President Donald Trump pushed through Congress late a year ago.

United States unemployment is already at 3.8 per cent, the lowest since 2000, and the Fed believes it will fall to 3.6 per cent by the end of the year, which would be the best rate since the 1960s. It kept borrowing costs that low after the financial crisis to encourage businesses and consumers to spend and grow the economy. Prices did not spike in response to the vast monetary stimulus, nor has the job market cooled since 2015 when the Fed began tightening policy.

The current economic expansion is the second-longest in USA history, and will set a record if it lasts a bit more than a year longer. The median estimate implied three increases in 2019 to put the rate above the level where officials see policy neither stimulating nor restraining the economy.

Keeping investors in check were concerns about USA threats to impose tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese goods.

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