Fed hikes rate for second time this year

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Fed hikes rate for second time this year

Jerome Powell, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, is scheduled to deliver his comments on the monetary policy in a press conference at 18:30 GMT. The Fed has signaled that it will continue to gradually increase rates in response to higher inflation and strength in the US labor market. The action means consumers and businesses will face higher loan rates over time.

It is the seventh time the bank has raised rates since 2015.

The biggest change the Fed made Wednesday was to signal that it intends to do two more rate hikes this year, instead of just one. The statement the Fed issued today after its latest policy meeting ended suggested that he does. Officials penciled in a total of four rate increases for this year, up from a projection of three increases at their March meeting. It also forecast an even lower unemployment rate of 3.5% for 2019 and 2020. That means that by then, it thinks its key rate will finally exceed the 2.9 percent it sees as neutral - as neither stimulating nor restraining growth.

U.S. unemployment dropped to 3.8% in May, its lowest level since April 2000 and one of the lowest levels since the second world war. Inflation by the Fed's preferred gauge would hit its target of 2 percent this year and edge up to 2.1 percent over the next two years. Consumer and business spending is powering the economy, in part a result of the tax cut President Donald Trump pushed through Congress late past year.

The unemployment rate is 3.8%, the lowest since 2000 and tied for the lowest reading since 1969.

The Fed's twin mandate is to bolster employment while controlling inflation, and in the current environment more rate rises appear inevitable. But if it miscalculates and overdoes the credit tightening, it can trigger a recession. Long is an economics correspondent.

Fed says setting ioer rate 5 basis points below top of target range for funds rate aims to keep market rates well within range.

Interest rates are going up again as the economy gets hotter. All those countries have vowed to retaliate against any US tariffs with their own penalties against USA goods.

While many economists worry about a trade war harming growth, the Fed did not mention trade concerns in its statement.

Fed vote in favor of policy was unanimous.

In a technical move, the central bank also chose to set the interest rate it pays banks on excess reserves - its chief tool for moderating short-term interest rates - at just below the upper level of its target range.

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