In a move telegraphed clearly and undeterred by the Crimea turmoil, the Federal Reserve increased interest rates for the first time in four years, raising its benchmark rate by one-quarter- of percentage point, from zero to a range of 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent, and indicating that additional rate hikes are coming.
Every January, economists, business analysts, pundits and fortune tellers collect, analyze and interpret financial data, business trends and tarot cards, counting on faulty memories to have forgotten their errant forecasts of the year before, as they predict how the economy will fare in the coming year.
Critics have sometimes complained that the Federal Reserve’s policy announcement are difficult to fathom. But there was nothing opaque about the message Fed Chair Jerome Powell delivered following the January Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting: The Fed is going to begin raising interest rates in multiple steps beginning in mid-March.
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