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Fed raises interest rates again

13 June 2018

"Recent data suggest that growth of household spending has picked up, while business fixed investment has continued to grow strongly", the Fed wrote in its statement Wednesday announcing the interest rate hike.

Since Ben Bernanke, the former Fed chairman, started pressers in April 2011, they've been held once every quarter. He'll likely address the decision to hike rates and the Fed's views on the overall economic outlook. "This change is only about improving communications".

In determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee will assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its maximum employment objective and its symmetric 2 percent inflation objective.

However quarterly economic forecasts show central bankers now expect the rate to end the year at 2.4%, rather than the 2.1% projected in March. It also forecast an even lower unemployment rate of 3.5% for 2019 and 2020. 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.

Wall Street was not happy by the aggressive new stance and all three major indexes turned negative right after the announcement with the Dow down 0.23
Two More Increases are Likely in 2018 after Current Rate Hike in the US

Fed says economic activity rising at a solid rate, previously described growth as moderate. After years in which the economy expanded at roughly a tepid 2 percent annually, growth could top 3 percent this year.

The unemployment rate is 3.8%, the lowest since 2000 and tied for the lowest reading since 1969. It then raised rates once in 2015, once in 2016, three times in 2017 and now twice this year.

Powell faces a tricky balancing act as the Fed attempts to bring interest rates toward historical averages. The Fed is raising rates gradually to keep the economy in check. All those countries have vowed to retaliate against any US tariffs with their own penalties against USA goods.

In a technical move, the central bank also made a decision to set the interest rate it pays banks on excess reserves - its chief tool for moderating short-term interest rates - at just below the upper level of its target range.

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I really did, other than he had a news conference, that he had because he assumed I was in an airplane and I wasn't watching. You can't do that. "It's very unfair to our farmers, and it's very unfair to the people of our country", he said.

Fed raises interest rates again