Fed raises rates while sticking to three-hike outlook for 2018

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The central bank said in a statement after its latest policy meeting that it expects the job market and the economy to strengthen further.

The greenback had also weakened on Wednesday after USA core consumer price data showed slowing inflation, raising concerns the Fed will be less able to execute multiple rate increases next year.

USA stocks closed mixed Wednesday, with the Dow closing at a record high, as the Federal Reserve raised the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points, the third such increase in 2017.

The Fed is widely expected to announce its third interest-rate increase this year, raising its benchmark fed funds rate by 25 basis points to a range of 1.25-1.50%.

World stock markets are subdued ahead of an expected interest rate increase from the Federal Reserve.

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"Next year the voting line-up turns quite a bit more hawkish", Michael Feroli, Fed watcher at JPMorgan, a primary dealer, wrote in a research note.

The Fed would hinge its decision to raise rates on the U.S. economy's faster-than-expected growth in recent months and strong job creation.

Hopes for progress on USA tax reform, including tax cuts, is probably lending support to the dollar for now, said Teppei Ino, analyst for Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in Singapore.

Two Fed officials dissented on the decision: Chicago Fed President Charles Evans and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, who felt policy makers should wait longer before raising rates again.

As it stands, inflation is expected to remain below the Fed's target in the near term and is being monitored "closely" by policymakers. Powell has been a Yellen ally who backed her cautious stance toward rate hikes in his five years on the Fed's board. That's no change from their previous forecast, even though their forecast shows faster economic growth next year. But growth would then slip back closer to its recent 2 per cent average.

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The committee left its median estimate for the lowest sustainable level of long-run unemployment at 4.6 percent, suggesting that officials still expect the drop in joblessness to eventually boost inflation.

Even before Wednesday, most analysts had said they thought the still-strengthening United States economy would lead the Fed to raise rates three more times next year.

Republican leaders on Wednesday reached an agreement on their final tax bill, paving the way for a federal tax code overhaul by Christmas.

The rate hikes have come at a time when there is very little inflationary pressure. She noted that any wage growth would likely stem from the low unemployment rate, rather than the tax cuts.

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