Fed Chair Jerome Powell hints slower interest rate increases because the current rate is just below the neutral threshold.
Jacob Miramar

2018-12-07 11:35:00 Fri ET

Fed Chair Jerome Powell hints slower interest rate increases because the current rate is just below the neutral threshold. NYSE and NASDAQ share prices rebound in response to the accommodative monetary policy moderation. Dow Jones surges about 600 points primarily due to this less hawkish stance. Wall Street expects the current interest rate hike to taper off. As a result, the U.S. dollar weakens a little bit relative to the major trade-weighted-average greenback index.

FOMC minutes reveal the high likelihood of another quarter-point increase in the federal funds rate in December 2018. However, some FOMC members propose removing the reference to *further gradual increases* in the target range insofar as the current stock market conditions persist. The federal funds rate might be near its neutral level so that some further rate hikes might inadvertently slow the current macroeconomic expansion and productivity growth. Within the target neutral range of interest rates, the U.S. economy operates with lower unemployment (3.7%) with minimal inflationary pressure (2%). Several FOMC members continue to express their deep concerns about Sino-U.S. tariff tension, corporate leverage, and public debt accumulation. The Trump team should exercise a fair bit of fiscal discipline in taxation and infrastructure with interim arrangements for Sino-American fair trade.

 


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