On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve hiked policy interest rate for the fourth time this year. The target fed funds rate – the interest rate at which banks can lend each other overnight – now stands at 2.25-2.5%, after the latest quarter-point increase.
The highly anticipated Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meet also brought to fore potential challenges and pressures facing the central bank. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell indicated "cross-currents emerging" which led most officials to temper their economic growth forecast for 2019. There would possibility be two rate hikes next year, which is fewer than previously expected – as hinted by Powell. As of the latest meeting, only six FOMC participants expect there could be as many as three.
Nevertheless, the Fed is still keen on letting fresh data guide their rate hike decisions going forward as well. The Fed does have a delicate task on hand : tightening credit to prevent overheating, but without stoking recessionary pressures.
On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, requesting the Fed to be wary of further rate hikes so as to not make markets any more “illiquid”.