Thursday, 26 April, 2018

Federal Reserve Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged

Orlando Vargas | 07 May, 2017, 15:24

United States economic growth slowed to an annual rate of 0.7 per cent for the first quarter of the year and the expectation was that the Fed would hold interest rates steady, after a key measure of inflation showed price increases moderating during March.

FED IN FOCUS: U.S. interest rates remained unchanged after the latest policy meeting by the Federal Reserve, which also said it expects the U.S. economy, the world's biggest, to start growing at a faster pace. Investors should expect another rate hike next month, he said.

"The ECB (European Central Bank) may be talking about policy normalization, but at the end of the day they're still easing; they're still expanding the balance sheet", said Barclays currency strategist Hamish Pepper, in London. Eastern time. The moves might have reflected the Fed's dual message that while now isn't the time to resume raising rates, the economy remains durable enough to withstand further hikes soon. "We are still on track for a rate hike at the committee's next meeting in June, although poor jobs data later this week could cloud the issue.".

Ahead of the release, investors saw about a 70 percent chance of a rate increase at or by the Fed's June meeting, based on trading in fed funds futures. The odds of a June rate hike were 67%.

The weak US auto sales figures could make market participants wary of actively buying the dollar against the yen for now, said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in Singapore.

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Data released last Friday showed the slowest pace of expansion in USA gross domestic product (GDP) for three years. For example, American consumers say they continue to be upbeat about their economic prospects, but government figures prove shoppers aren't backing that confidence with higher spending rates. That was down from 3.5% the previous quarter. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and global developments.

The U.S. added just 98,000 net new jobs in March, the fewest in a year, although economists said weather was probably a factor.

The Fed statement said while household spending has risen only modestly "the fundamentals underpinning the continued growth of consumption remained solid".

Furthermore, the central bank anticipates growth to pick up again.

Treasurys are under pressure after the Federal Reserve held its key rate in a range between 0.75% and 1.00%. Fed Chair Janet Yellen will speak in at 1:30 p.m. ET and top brass San Francisco Fed President John Williams, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fisher are all due to speak Friday as well.

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