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US Fed signals one more rate hike this year

21 September 2017

The Federal Reserve began a two-day meeting today with analysts split over whether policymakers will formally announce its next step in the so-called normalisation of USA monetary policy.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a press conference after the meeting that a fall in inflation this year remained a mystery and said the US central bank was ready to change the rate outlook if needed. MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.25 percent. "Storm-related disruptions and rebuilding will affect economic activity in the near term, but past experience suggests that the storms are unlikely to materially alter the course of the national economy over the medium term".

"The most important thing Yellen needed to communicate to the market was that the bond sale plan and rate increases are not on autopilot", said Jason Pride, director of investment strategy at Glenmede in Philadelphia.

The policymaking Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) agreed to keep its benchmark rate target at 1%-1.25%, forecasting at least one more hike this year.

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Treasurys remain under pressure, pushing up yields, as investors boost odds for a December rate hike.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 41.79 points, or 0.2 percent, to 22,412.59.

Bond yields rose following the Fed's announcement Wednesday.

Fed policymakers actually revised up their forecast for economic growth this year to 2.4 percent from a 2.2 percent projection in June.

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The unemployment rate is forecast to remain at 4.3 percent this year before falling to 4.1 percent next year and remaining there in 2019.

He said better than expected United States inflation figures had also fuelled the rate hike expectations. Economists were expecting a 0.3% rise to 5.46m homes.

With the conclusion of the FOMC September meeting scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, markets will get a long-awaited glimpse at the Fed's current monetary policy stance as revealed through its prepared statement, press conference, and economic projections. Oil prices were higher, but pared gains after data showed a bigger-than-expected build in US crude inventories. "In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee chose to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1 to 1.25 percent". As long as inflation remains low, the Federal Reserve could choose to raise rates but does not need to raise rates-an important distinction, in our view.

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US Fed signals one more rate hike this year