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Fed lifts key rates 6th time since crisis

Fed moves to prevent US economy from overheating

"If interest rates are rising from a low level, there's more optimism about the economy, and that generally is a more positive thing", he said. While this might seem daunting for the average consumer with debt or mortgages, the increase is actually a sign of continued health and strength in the economy.

Fed officials widely expected that the U.S. economy would grow at a faster pace this and next year, driven by fiscal stimulus and improved overseas demand.

But the Fed's new forecast does envision somewhat stronger economic growth compared with its previous estimate: It raises the estimate to 2.7 percent growth this year, up from 2.5 percent in the December projection, and 2.4 percent in 2019, up from 2.1 percent. Financial conditions have tightened since late January as investors look for signs that the central bank might raise rates at a faster pace, while forecasters predict stronger US growth and tight labour markets. In time, it will probably reflect my expectation of four increases again next year.

The revisions will have an effect on the Fed's path of gradual normalization of monetary policy, including the number of envisaged interest rate hikes.

Oddly, the Fed kept its inflation forecast for the next two years the same even though it sees a stronger economy and falling unemployment rate.

All eyes were on Jerome Powell this week as he chaired the federal open market committee (FOMC) meeting for the first time since taking charge of the US Federal Reserve. But it makes sense as the tax cuts should hype growth in a tight labor market environment and it will be the Fed's job to make sure that faster expansion doesn't get transmitted into too strong inflation.

Spring league Alliance of American Football to launch in 2019 on CBS
In fact, Charlie Ebersol directed a documentary about the league that aired in 2017 as part of ESPN's 30 for 30 series. The AAF doesn't view itself as a league that is competing with the NFL , but one that will be complimentary to it.

The S&P 500 Index of US stocks were higher after Powell spoke, while the yield on 10-year US Treasury notes were around 2.89%, little changed from Tuesday.

Spot gold dipped on Thursday as the US dollar pared losses on safe-haven buying from investors fearing a trade war between the United States and China, but gold futures rose, with one trader citing arbitrage trades. Investors also fixated on the Fed's somewhat more aggressive plans for rate hikes after 2018, analysts said.

The Trump administration recently announced steel and aluminium tariffs and is weighing sanctions against China, actions that have led to threats of retaliation.

The forecast table indicated that growth over the next three years should be greater than expected in December, the unemployment rate will be lower and most importantly, the funds rate is now projected to top out at 3.4%, not 3.1%. In December, it raised this rate to between 1.25% and 1.5%. A trade war between the US and China would probably take a bite out of the world's two-largest economies, but wouldn't do enough damage to pitch either into recession, provided it's contained, economists say.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 7 cents to $65.10 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. This very rosy vision for the economy in 2020 depends, if you take their projections and comments at face value, on the Fed's stepping up its rate increases.

While the Fed sounded mildly hawkish with a slightly steeper projection of rates for the next two years, it was compensated for by an improved growth outlook.

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