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Fed likely to raise rates in December

19 December 2018

"Take the victory!" Trump wrote on Twitter.

The president isn't wrong about the dollar, which has made modest gains against a basket of currencies, hitting a 19-month high at close on Friday.

The US central bank is expected to raise interest rates by 0.25 to a range of 2.25-2.5 per cent - the highest level in a decade.

Some economists are predicting, however, that the decade-long improving USA economy could stall in the next year or so and perhaps even fall into a recession, which, if it occurs, would in most circumstances call for cutting interest rates to boost economic activity.

In a piece Tuesday titled "Time for a Fed Pause," the Journal urged the Federal Open Market Committee to forgo a rate hike amid a lack of inflation and a possible slowing in US economic growth. The two warned that in conjunction with raising rates, the Fed's balance sheet unwind creates a "double-barreled blitz" of policy impediments that could threaten a USA economy still capable of growth.

Policymakers have offered little reaction to Trump's string of taunts, with Fed Chairman Jerome Powell saying the political noise does not factor into their decisions.

Congress mandates the Fed, a private entity, with steering USA monetary policy to pursue full employment and stable prices.

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The official said the positions were clearly marked and any force attacking them "would definitely know they are attacking the United States ".

Mr. Trump renewed his criticism of the central bank Tuesday, urging Fed officials to read an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal calling for a pause in interest-rate hikes.

Unemployment remains at an nearly 50-year low and growth is expected to be around 3 percent this year, well above the 2 percent that the Fed thinks is normal for the US economy.

The expectation for this week is that the Fed will revise its predictions for next year down to two rate hikes and Powell will try to signal in his news conference that the Fed will be "data dependent" and more open to changing course as needed. Some economic indicators-including USA economic growth and employment-are healthy and tilt the scales towards a rate increase.

The Federal Reserve periodically raises interest rates during periods of economic growth to prevent inflation from getting out of control.

"Central banks around the world are moving away from multitrillion bond purchases and zero interest rates, and they're doing it without a road map". "The great thing about the Fed is we have been given independence".

During his presidency, Richard Nixon convinced the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low, reasoning that inflation was better than any rise in unemployment due to rising interest rates. US presidents have typically refrained from encroaching on the independence of the Fed.

Fed likely to raise rates in December