Business News

US Federal Reserve hikes rates by 0.25% supported by improved jobs market and inflation gains

The central bank projected two more raises in rates in 2017, indicating it aims to tighten monetary policy as the economy inches closer to its inflation target.

The United States Federal Reserve on Wednesday hiked its interest rates by 25 basis points (0.25%), lower than the 0.75% to 1% hike investors had been bracing themselves for. The decision was based on economic growth in the country, including “solid” gains in the jobs market, “somewhat firmed” business investment sentiment and an inflation rate that was “moving close” to the 2% target, the Federal Open Market Committee said in its statement.

“The committee will carefully monitor actual and expected inflation developments relative to its symmetric inflation goal,” it added. “The committee expects that economic condition will evolve in a manner that will warrant gradual increases in the federal funds rate,” Bloomberg reported.

The US central bank projected two more raises in rates in 2017, indicating that it aims to tighten monetary policy as the economy inches closer to its inflation target. Its quarterly median projections show inflation estimated to reach 1.9% in the fourth quarter this year and 2% in 2018 and 2019. Central bankers forecast a 4.5% unemployment rate till December 2017 and kept their GDP growth rate projections unchanged at 2.1% in 2017 and 2018 and 1.9% in 2019.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said, “The simple message is that the economy is doing well,” adding that the Fed was maintaining its policy of gradual interest rate hikes. The decision “does not represent a reassessment of the economic outlook or of the appropriate course for monetary policy”, the central bank chief said.

After the announcement, the S&P 500 Index soared to its highest level this session and maintained its gains, but the US dollar plunged to its lowest since February 20 as a result of the Fed’s dovish projections. Wall Street is no longer wary of rate hikes as investors now regard the increases as proof of an economy strong enough to handle them.

In India, too, the announcement is likely to have a significant impact on markets on Thursday. The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensex and National Stock Exchange Nifty both ended flat on Tuesday, with investors awaiting the news of the Federal rate hike, after they had rallied on the back of the Assembly election results.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Children's Day is not for children alone

It’s also a time for adults to revisit their childhood.

Most adults look at childhood wistfully, as a time when the biggest worry was a scraped knee, every adult was a source of chocolate and every fight lasted only till the next playtime. Since time immemorial, children seem to have nailed the art of being joyful, and adults can learn a thing or two about stress-free living from them. Now it’s that time of the year again when children are celebrated for...simply being children, and let it serve as a timely reminder for adults to board that imaginary time machine and revisit their childhood. If you’re unable to unbuckle yourself from your adult seat, here is some inspiration.

Start small, by doodling at the back page of your to-do diary as a throwback to that ancient school tradition. If you’re more confident, you could even start your own comic strip featuring people in your lives. You can caricaturise them or attribute them animal personalities for the sake of humour. Stuck in a boring meeting? Draw your boss with mouse ears or your coffee with radioactive powers. Just make sure you give your colleagues aliases.

Pull a prank, those not resulting in revenue losses of course. Prank calls, creeping up behind someone…pull them out from your memory and watch as everyone has a good laugh. Dress up a little quirky for work. It’s time you tried those colourful ties, or tastefully mismatched socks. Dress as your favourite cartoon characters someday – it’s as easy as choosing a ponytail-style, drawing a scar on your forehead or converting a bath towel into a cape. Even dinner can be full of childish fun. No, you don’t have to eat spinach if you don’t like it. Use the available cutlery and bust out your favourite tunes. Spoons and forks are good enough for any beat and for the rest, count on your voice to belt out any pitch. Better yet, stream the classic cartoons of your childhood instead of binge watching drama or news; they seem even funnier as an adult. If you prefer reading before bedtime, do a reread of your favourite childhood book(s). You’ll be surprised by their timeless wisdom.

A regular day has scope for childhood indulgences in every nook and cranny. While walking down a lane, challenge your friend to a non-stop game of hopscotch till the end of the tiled footpath. If you’re of a petite frame, insist on a ride in the trolley as you about picking items in the supermarket. Challenge your fellow gym goers and trainers to a hula hoop routine, and beat ‘em to it!

Children have an incredible ability to be completely immersed in the moment during play, and acting like one benefits adults too. Just count the moments of precious laughter you will have added to your day in the process. So, take time to indulge yourself and celebrate life with child-like abandon, as the video below shows.

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of SBI Life and not by the Scroll editorial team.