The five questions to ask following the US Fed rate hike
Mar 18 2017 by Cristina Jennings
The outcome of the 10-year Treasury auction is influenced by the rate set by the Fed, but there are other factors that play a role, Kantrowitz said.
The rate rise had been expected at the March meeting, after a strong February jobs report boosted confidence in the U.S. economy.
At the press conference after the meeting, Marketplace asked Yellen about Fed critics who say wages aren't growing fast enough for an interest rate increase. Neel Kashkari, the head of the Fed's regional bank in Minneapolis, cast the dissenting vote.
The Fed has signaled it'll boost rates two more times this year, increasing them by a total of three-quarters of a percentage point.
Typically, the Fed raises rates in order to slow down inflation, even at the risk of choking off some economic activity.
The central bank expected the US economy to grow at 2.1 percent in 2017 and 2018, little changed from the December forecast.
The US jobless rate is now 4.7 percent, at or near a level consistent with full employment.
According to WalletHub, a consumer research group, the rate hike will add $1.6 billion in finance charges for USA credit card holders for 2017. Where it stood removed an important tool from the chest of the Fed, which under some circumstances might otherwise have lowered the rate to stimulate a sluggish economy.
Last week, Yellen and the Federal Reserve announced a federal rate hike to range of 0.75 percent to 1 percent.
Lucy O'Carroll, chief economist at Aberdeen Asset Management, told Sky News it would have been an "enormous surprise" if the Fed had not raised rates. The lack of specificity gives the Fed flexibility in case forthcoming elections in Europe or other unseen events disrupt the global economy.
"We have lifted our global growth forecast to 3.25 per cent, whereas the long run average is 3.8 per cent, so I don't think you should be assuming the world's off and running like before the GFC", he said.
While the fed fund rate doesn't directly impact most Americans, it certainly has an indirect impact.
Fed funds futures have priced in a nearly 50 percent chance of another rate increase in June and an almost 60 percent probability of one at the July meeting, according to the CME's FedWatch. The Fed's preferred measure of inflation is at 1.9%, though it acknowledged that a reading it focuses on more closely - which excludes volatile food and energy costs - remains below its 2% target, at 1.7%.
And it adopted some new language hinting that it might be tolerant of higher-than-optimal inflation for some unspecified period.
Banks have increased variable home mortgage rates 25 to 30 basis points since they bottomed less than a year ago. That metric, which excludes food and energy prices, is still below 2% and has been for nearly five years.