Federal Reserve raises the interest rate to the target range of 2.25% to 2.5% as of December 2018.

Charlene Vos

2018-12-22 14:38:00 Sat ET

Federal Reserve raises the interest rate to the target range of 2.25% to 2.5% as of December 2018. Fed Chair Jerome Powell highlights the dovish interest rate hike that the U.S. economy seems sluggish in terms of real GDP per capita economic growth, employment, and capital investment. Some economic indicators such as household income and wage momentum soften in the current macro outlook.

Wall Street reacts negatively to the Powell comment about continuing to shrink the Federal Reserve balance sheet. Several stock market indices slump to the lowest levels in the fiscal year 2018. Dow Jones declines 352 points or 1.5%; S&P 500 also declines 1.5%; and NASDAQ plunges 2.3% as of mid-December 2018. This stock market pain extends to global markets: European and Asian stocks exhibit sharp losses around 3% on the next business day.

The Federal Reserve expects to ease the current interest rate hike with no more than 2 to 3 rate increases in 2019. Chairman Powell conveys his unusual dovish tone that the current interest rate hike reflects healthy fundamental recalibration in U.S. financial markets. This rate hike benefits most savers and traders who receive dividend and interest income from their stock and bond market investments.

 


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