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US Federal Reserve System raises base interest rate to 1-1.25% - regulator

15 Juin 2017

The central bank kept its benchmark rate at a record low near zero starting in late 2008 to try to boost consumer and business borrowing and lift the country out of the worst downturn since the 1930s. And, ahead of the Fed decision, the Europe's benchmark bond yield held near seven-week lows.

Fed officials said "realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation justified the hike, which was supported by all Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) members but Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari".

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Janet L. Yellen, Chair; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Lael Brainard; Charles L. Evans; Stanley Fischer; Patrick Harker; Robert S. Kaplan; and Jerome H. Powell.

Yellen would not say whether or not she wanted to stay at the Fed for another term. So far, Trump has sent conflicting signals about whether he plans to nominate her for a second term. Many investors recall how the Fed in 1994, fearing inflation, quickly doubled rates to 6 percent, which slammed the bond market.

United States stocks rose slightly after the Fed announcement while the dollar reversed some of its earlier losses though bond yields moved little.

Lending Tree CEO Doug Lebda said for most mortgage borrowers, a quarter-point move in interest rates will have a very negligible impact. In 3.15pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.4 percent. It was down a point to 2,439.

Fed officials also cut their forecast for inflation, one of the last indicators to really pick up momentum in recent years. The unemployment rate, at 4.3%, is at its lowest level since 2001.

But the USA central bank acknowledged that the preferred inflation measure will remain below the two percent target for some time.

The energy sector .SPNY was down 1.9 percent as oil prices weakened.

The Fed's estimates for the unemployment rate by the end of this year moved down to 4.3 per cent, the current level, and to 4.2 per cent in 2018, indicating the Fed believes the labour market will continue to tighten. These rates are well below the Trump administration growth goals of 3 percent a year. Interest rates on auto loans have increased a little since the Fed started raising rates in 2015, but rates on mortgage loans remain unchanged. They continued to predict 2 percent inflation next year. The rate sets what banks can charge each other for overnight loans and influences the availability and flow of money in the US economy. If they vote to raise rates on Wednesday, it would give the Fed enough room to act again at their meetings scheduled for July, September, October or December. Fed officials project growth of roughly 2 percent in 2017.

At 9:45 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 9.23 points, or 0.04 percent, at 21,337.7.

There is, accordingly, a chance that the Fed will acknowledge the weaker price growth in its post-meeting statement even though it will not abandon its central case that inflation is heading back to 2 per cent.

Financial markets have been anticipating the increase.

Data earlier Wednesday showed USA consumer prices unexpectedly fell in May, suggesting a softening in domestic demand.

US Federal Reserve System raises base interest rate to 1-1.25% - regulator