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Fed officials signal no more rate hikes this year

After the Federal Reserve stood pat on its benchmark interest rate on Wednesday, officials delivered a strong signal that rates might stay steady for the rest of the year.

Per the Wall Street Journal, 11 of 17 Fed officials indicated that a rate increase isn't needed this year — a major increase from the two officials who suggested so this past December. A statement after a two-day meeting in Washington, D.C. reiterated familiar language of late from Fed officials, preaching that it will be "patient" despite "global economic and financial developments."

The forecast of no rate hikes goes even further than a recent Reuters poll of economists, which projected the Federal Reserve would raise rates once more in third-quarter 2019 before staying quiet the rest of the year.

FedThe survey of more than 100 economists, which took place from March 11-14, followed a “60 Minutes” interview with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who said that “we would be patient” when asked about raising rates.

Pressed by host Scott Pelley on what “patient” meant, Powell answered that it "means we don’t feel any hurry to change our interest rate policy.”

According to the Reuters poll, economists unanimously expected unchanged rates after the Fed’s March meeting. Fifty-five percent, however, expected the Fed would raise rates at least once by the end of September 2019.

Consensus in the poll shifted since a similar poll last month, when economists forecast that the Fed would raise rates in the second quarter.

The last hike from the Fed came in December 2018, when the key interest rate was bumped up by a quarter of a percentage point to the range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent. 



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