US Federal Reserve raises rates as expected

27 Septembre, 2018, 15:26 | Auteur: Auguste Feret

Asia generally fared better than Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4 per cent and the S&P 500 lost 0.33 per cent.

The move was widely expected, as investors who bet on foreign exchange rates were forecasting a 100 per cent chance of a hike in recent days and weeks. In July, he wrote on Twitter that the move "hurts all that we have done".

In a CNBC survey of economists, fund managers and strategists, 98% of respondents expect the Fed to hike rates a quarter point Wednesday to a range of 2 to 2 ¼%.

The Fed lifted its short-term rate - a benchmark for many consumer and business loans - by a modest quarter-point to a range of 2 per cent to 2.25 per cent. "Unfortunately they just raised interest rates a little bit because we are doing so well".

Higher U.S. rates, though, may force more emerging markets to tighten monetary policy to defend their currencies at a time when investors are punishing those with fault lines such as large current-account deficits.

In a statement after its latest policy meeting, the Fed dropped phrasing it had long used that characterized its policy as "accommodative" - that is, favoring low rates.

The Fed noted that inflation has remained near its 2 percent objective.

USA interest rates remain relatively low, reflecting the Fed's decision to lower them dramatically amid the 2007-2009 financial crisis in an effort to encourage borrowing and boost economic activity. But it has been gradually raising them over the past three years.

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In its updated outlook Wednesday, the Fed foresees one final rate hike after 2019 - in 2020 - which would leave its benchmark at 3.4 per cent.

The Fed once again said "further gradual increases" would allow continued expansion of the economy while keeping inflation around the Fed's 2% target. We can do other things with the money. But it does have a plan: using a series of deliberate rate hikes to stanch further economic improvements and keep the U.S. economy poised on the near side of that line between strong growth and unsustainable growth.

But analysts say the central bank is tangling with a complex set of near-term economic questions, including a trade confrontation with China affecting hundreds of billions of dollars in goods that is likely to be inflationary; tax cuts and fiscal stimulus late in the economic recovery; and dizzyingly high asset prices alongside more or less stagnant wage growth. The initial price action suggested the market first interpreted the word's removal as "the end of the Fed tightening cycle".

The Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the United States currency, so the Hong Kong authorities tare obliged to take steps to maintain the exchange rate within a narrow range.

The euro traded at $1.1704, down 0.3 per cent and off a three-month high of $1.18155 touched on Monday.

William Rhodes, president and chief executive officer of William R. Rhodes Global Advisors, discusses his forecast for Federal Reserve monetary policy.

The location of a neutral rate for policy is the subject of heated debate, with estimates within the committee ranging from 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent. Powell has repeatedly played down the importance of neutral given economists' inability to know precisely where it lies.

Oil prices gained on an impending fall in Iranian exports due to U.S. sanctions, which are set to be implemented in November.


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