Fed raises key rate, sees more hikes in '18

Fed moves to prevent US economy from overheating

Stocks Close Lower As Fed's Comments Spark Turbulence

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In accelerating interest raising rate rises, the new Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Jerome Powell is making his policy mark, prioritizing yields over inflation.

The revisions will have an effect on the Fed's path of gradual normalization of monetary policy, including the number of envisaged interest rate hikes.

Economists said the decision to raise rates despite some recent sluggish data in areas like consumer spending showed that the Powell-led Fed has faith in the economy's resilience. At least two further interest rate hikes are forecast for 2018 with more to come in the coming years as the nation looks to stay on guard against inflation.

Later in his press conference, Powell said Fed officials reported hearing relatively new business-leader concerns about future trade actions and are seeing it as a "risk-to-the-outlook kind of thing".

Those economic projections signal that Mr. Powell and his colleagues believe they can keep running the economy a little hot with mainly good results.

But a host of factors, including the massive tax cuts enacted by Congress, a weaker dollar and robust job creation, suggest that the Fed is likely to adopt a more hawkish policy stance. The Fed "will have to go some to really move the needle on market thinking or indeed, to take the dollar out of its current range and the FX market out of its mindset", said Kit Juckes, chief FX Strategist at Societe Generale.

It also voted to increase the primary credit rate to 2ΒΌ percent. In the forecasts, US central bankers projected a median federal funds rate of 2.9 percent by the end of 2019, implying three rate increases next year, compared with two 2019 moves seen in the last round of forecasts in December. In December, officials said they expected unemployment to be 3.9 percent this year and next.

In late NY trading, the euro increased to 1.2329 dollars from 1.2255 dollars in the previous session, and the British pound was up to 1.4136 dollars from 1.4004 US dollars in the previous session.

Many analysts doubt the dollar can rally much, since so many investors remain bearish.

Americans with credit card debt are especially vulnerable to rising interest rates.

New Zealand has a monetary policy decision Thursday.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.2 percent and the MSCI Asia Pacific Index decreased 0.1 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1.1 percent to 31,071.05 and the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.5 percent to 3,263.48.

Spot gold XAU= dipped 0.1 percent to $1,330.97 per ounceat 1250 GMT.

The British pound jumped 1.1 percent to $1.4145. The dollar was down 0.3 per cent at 105.715 yen after slipping about 0.5 per cent the previous day. But by the time stock trading had ended, the Dow Jones industrial average was down modestly, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, a benchmark for mortgages and other loans, was up only slightly to 2.88.

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