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Preview: U.S. Fed confronts new complexities

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Preview: U.S. Fed confronts new complexities

Preview: U.S. Fed confronts new complexities

The Federal Reserve will conclude its latest policy meeting on Wednesday buffeted by conflicting economic data, under steady pressure from the White House for steep interest rate cuts.

David Pollard reports.


Preview: U.S. Fed confronts new complexities

Markets went on pause on Wednesday (September 18) - ahead of a Fed that looks almost certain to come off it.

After the U.S. central bank cut rates in July for the first time since 2008, traders see an almost two thirds probability of a further cut now.

Though not everybody sees why ... Spartan Capital's Peter Cardillo: (SOUNDBITE) (English) SPARTAN CAPITAL CHIEF MARKET ECONOMIST, PETER CARDILLO, SAYING: "I don't think the economy needs a cut.

I think they're doing it just to take precautionary measures and to calm the markets." Even the U.S. central bank's own policymakers are, it's said, struggling to agree.

Hawks see strong wage growth and retail sales.

Doves feel the fear of the U.S./China trade war, weakening manufacturing and - after Saturday's (September 14) drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities - tensions building in the Middle East ... While this week, a sudden spike in U.S. borrowing costs could see calls for the Fed to backpedal on moves to wind down its QE programme.

Then there's the Donald factor: A U.S. president who's referred to policymakers as 'boneheads' has repeatedly demanded low-to-no, even negative interest rates.

That adds to the pressure on Fed chief Powell to do as expected this week.

But - with the divisions in his team - another cut further down the line looks some way from a done deal.

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