Fed is likely to stay ‘patient’ and project fewer rate hikes

Fed is likely to stay ‘patient’ and project fewer rate hikes

WASHINGTON (AP) ” The Federal Reserve is expected to end its latest policy meeting Wednesday by refining its new overarching message that it plans to be “patient” about any further interest rate hikes. The Fed is all but sure to keep its key short-term rate in a range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent, still low by historical standards. And most analysts think the policymakers will scale back their projection of rate hikes this year from two to one or perhaps even none. The central bank’s new theme of patience and flexibility reflects its calming response since the start of the year to slow economic growth at home and abroad, a nervous stock market and persistently mild inflation. The Fed executed an abrupt pivot when it met in January by signaling that it no longer expected to raise rates anytime soon. The shift toward a more hands-off Fed and away from a policy of steadily tightening credit has pleased investors and encouraged the view that the central bank is done raising rates for now and might even act this year to support rather than restrain the economy. Besides issuing a new policy statement Wednesday, the Fed will provide an updated economic outlook and Chairman Jerome Powell will hold a news conference. Powell is expected to note that while the U.S. economy is on firm footing, it faces risks from slowing growth and trade conflicts. Against that backdrop, the thinking goes, it would be unwise to keep raising rates. There […]

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