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Stocks Whipsaw Investors After Powell Rate Hike

07 April 2018

The dollar struggled against its peers on Thursday after the Federal Reserve maintained the view that it would raise interest rate three times in 2018 instead of the four that some currency bulls had hoped for.

On Wednesday, the USA central bank again raised its benchmark overnight lending rate by another 25 basis points- the fifth rate hike since it ended its ultra-low interest rate policy in December 2016, and setting current rates to a range of 1.50 percent to 1.75 percent.

"The economic outlook has strengthened in recent months", the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement Wednesday in Washington.

Wednesday's increase was the Fed's first major decision since Jerome Powell replaced Janet Yellen as its chair.

"Trade policy has become a concern going forward for that group", the chairman said, referring to business leaders.

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"But with the United States output gap closing, and fiscal policy ramping up, it's a matter of time before he will need to make tougher decisions that really might upset his boss", Nash said.

The statement did not mention the extra government stimulus that has been added since the Fed's most recent economic forecast in the form of a $1.5 trillion tax cut and a budget agreement that will add $300 billion in government spending over two years.

Silver prices edged up after the US Federal Reserve announced the first rate hike of the year and signaled at least two more increases for 2018 on Wednesday (March 21).

In addition, job gains will drive the unemployment rate down to 3.6 percent next year, below the previous 3.9 percent estimate, and stay there in 2020. He began his membership on the Federal Reserve Board in 2012, so he understands what Yellen was trying to do even though he thought interest rates were lower than they should be. It was the sixth quarter point move since December 2015. Consumers would be wise to make similarly independent decisions by shopping for the best interest rates on savings accounts, certificates of deposit, and mortgages. Policymakers predict the unemployment rate to fall to 3.8 per cent this year and 3.6 per cent next year. The Fed also significantly boosted its forecast for USA growth this year and next.

Powell avoided attempts to get him to comment on specific aspects of trade or fiscal policy, but he noted the likely growth boost from the recent tax cuts, and said there are aspects of the package that could help raise the potential growth rate.

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Currently, US inflation is running at 2.2% (for the year to February) which is slightly above the Fed's target of 2%.

Analysts are divided on exactly how many increases will occur this year.

Along with more rapid economic growth, members downwardly revised their projection for the jobless rate and edged up their inflation expectations.

"On the one hand, the risk would be that we wait too long and then we have to raise rates quickly".

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Stocks Whipsaw Investors After Powell Rate Hike