Fed officials keep June rate hike in play

The Federal Reserve could still hike interest rates in June despite weak recent U.S. data and investor skepticism. New York Fed President William Dudley and Fed Governor Jerome Powell on Wednesday sketched out scenarios in which the central bank could make an initial move earlier than many now expect and then proceed in a slow and gradual manner on further rate increases. Dudley, a permanent voting member on the Fed's policy committee and a close ally of Fed Chair Janet Yellen said, "I could imagine circumstances where a June rate hike could still be in play. If the economy's strong, the unemployment rate is dropping, wages are rising, and the outlook is good, you could conceivably get to that point," adding "the bar is probably a little bit higher" for a June hike given recent data. Minutes of the Fed's March 17-18 policy meeting, released on Wednesday, also show central bank officials are eager to get the rate hike process started but are likely to go slow once "lift-off" begins. (VIEW LINK)


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