US Federal Reserve talks unlikely to end in interest hike

Most experts expect no change as policymakers consider increase to keep US economy from overheating

A cyclist passes the Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington. The central bankers are due to reconvene Thursday morning. Photograph: Reuters

A cyclist passes the Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington. The central bankers are due to reconvene Thursday morning. Photograph: Reuters

 

Top officials at the US Federal Reserve have begun a two-day policy meeting that is narrowly expected to end without an interest rate hike.

Policymakers are considering a rate increase to keep strengthening economy in the US from overheating, a decision that could potentially roil financial markets worldwide.

The meeting began at 6pm Irish time, a Fed official said. The central bankers are due to reconvene Thursday morning and announce their decision at 7pm Irish time.

Global banks and investment funds see the chances for a rate increase as essentially a toss up, although most experts see a slightly higher probability for standing still.

In a poll of 80 economists, 45 said the Fed would keep its benchmark interest rate between 0 and 0.25 per cent. Thirty-five expected a hike. Among primary dealers, 12 banks expect the Fed to hold and the remaining 10 expect a hike.

Bets in financial markets, suggest investors see the chances of a hike at just one in five.

Some observers of the world’s most powerful central bank blame the Fed for being unusually enigmatic and sending mixed signals. – (Reuters)