GREAT AGAIN: Fed RAISES 2018 Economic Outlook, HIKES Interest Rates


The increase marks the highest level of interest rates in the United States since 2008. The number viewing three or fewer hikes as appropriate fell to seven from eight.

"In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee chose to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1-3/4 to 2 percent", the Fed said in a statement. Other changes included referring to "further gradual increases" instead of "adjustments". The statement contained many changes compared to the previous one.

The tighter policy reflects expectations for stronger growth, lower unemployment and faster inflation than officials had anticipated in March.

The central bank also signaled two more hikes are coming in 2018 and four in 2019, a possible sign of concern about accelerating inflation in the US. The statement the Fed issued Wednesday after its latest policy meeting ended suggested that he does. Risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced.

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Here's the Fed's full statement: "Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in May indicates that the labour market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising at a solid rate".

In raising its benchmark overnight lending rate a quarter of a percentage point to a range of between 1.75% and 2%, the Fed dropped its pledge to keep rates low enough to stimulate the economy "for some time" and signalled it would tolerate above-target inflation at least through 2020. But this could change soon, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Tuesday that said Powell was considering press conferences after every meeting. Powell has repeatedly played down the dot plot as a guide to future interest rates, though investors continue to focus on it.

The Fed now sees gross domestic product growing 2.8% this year, slightly higher than previously forecast, and dipping to 2.4% next year, unchanged from policymakers' March projections.

Officials lowered their jobless-rate estimates after unemployment fell to 3.8 per cent as of May, matching April 2000 as the lowest reading since 1969.

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The Fed now foresees four rate hikes this year, up from the three it had previously forecast. This would leave rates between 3.25 percent and 3.5 percent by the end of 2020.

Fast-forward to April of this year when data showed that US job openings jumped to a record high, far outpacing hiring. The labor department reported Tuesday, just as the Fed was meeting, that the consumer price index had risen by 2.8% from a year earlier, the biggest annual gain since February 2012.

Core inflation projections, which strip out volatile food and energy prices, is expected to tick slightly higher to 2.0% this year, up from March's projection of 1.9%. This was the second hike this year, up from March's increased range of 1.5 to 1.75 percent.

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