Federal Reserve Hikes Interest Rates, Sees 2 More Hikes Coming In 2018

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Federal Reserve Hikes Interest Rates, Sees 2 More Hikes Coming In 2018

The U.S. Federal Reserve is nearly certain to hike interest rates Wednesday to the highest level in a decade: 1.5 to 1.75 percent.

The Fed is boosting its key short-term rate by a modest quarter-point to a still-low range of 1.5 per cent to 1.75 per cent. As the Fed hikes rates on financial institutions, banks turn around and lift interest rates on credit cards, auto loans, small business loans and home mortgages.

The Federal Reserve has voted to raise United States interest rates by 25bps in Jerome Powell's first meeting as chairman since taking over from Janet Yellen. "What we're looking out for most is the forward guidance.it's how the accompanying statement is worded, whether it proves particularly hawkish, whether policymakers are guiding towards four rate hikes this year as opposed to three", said Henry Croft, research analyst at Accendo Markets.

The Fed anticipates hiking rates three more times in 2018, part of an ongoing move away from the extraordinary measures it took to stimulate the economy during and after the great recession, but it opened the door to potentially doing four hikes.

The projections released at the end of a two-day meeting in Washington also showed that officials are expect slightly higher interest rates in 2019 and 2020 than they did in December.

MSCI's all-country equity index flatlined, and is now 6 per cent off January's record highs, pressured by the trade war fears and the possibility that the Fed will tighten policy more than expected.

Following the Fed's decision, newly-installed Chairman Jerome Powell will address the news media for the first time in a quarterly press conference.

Two-year note yields, which are highly sensitive to interest rate policy, jumped to 2.357 percent, the highest since September 2008.

Inflation, while still tame, also seems to be poised to rise, with the Consumer Price Index gaining 2.5 percent over the last six months.

It said the economic outlook has strengthened in recent months, and thus the committee increased growth projections for U.S, economy.

He was referring to the fact that the Fed said it also meant to raise rates in 2019 and 2020.

Gross domestic product is forecast to grow 2.6% this year after 2.2% increase in 2017.

The U.S. central bank is also holding to the outlook it gave in December that it will boost rates three times in total this year. Fed-fund futures now put a 39% probability on at least four rate increases happening this year, according to CME data.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the United Kingdom jobless rate in the three months to January was the joint lowest since 1975 and the employment rate rose to a record high.

And while it may sound like a misbegotten goal, there's a good reason the Fed sometimes aims to curb spending and slow the economy; otherwise, an overheating economy can trigger rising - even spiraling - inflation. The officials are expected to leave rates unchanged following a disappointing quarter. That would send a signal that the central bank sees a reinvigorated American economy with room to run.

Economic conditions have also shifted.

Ahead of the March FOMC meeting concluding later today, Fed funds futures are pricing in a 100% chance of a rate hike just as they have since the start of 2018.

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