Fed sees no strong case for hiking or cutting rates


U.S. President Donald Trump is at it again - urging the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates and spur economic growth.

Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa hardened her opposition after the emergence of articles and speeches by Moore over the years, some of which have been criticized as sexist or trafficking in racism. It's not planning to raise interest rates, following its latest policymaking meeting, which is bullish for stocks and might help keep President Trump's blood pressure down.

He gave two interviews published within an hour of Trump's tweet saying he was staying in the race, and that a White House official had encouraged him to remain.

Silver was down 0.1 percent at $14.66 an ounce, holding close to a more than four-month low touched on Wednesday.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. EDT (1830 GMT).

However, for now, the Fed chief said that low inflation allows the central bank to be "patient" in deciding on any further changes to its overnight benchmark lending rate, which it left in a range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent.

US stocks eased further from recent record highs on Thursday as energy shares dropped along with oil prices and investors continued to digest comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. It is not the first time that Trump has asked the Federal Reserve for lower interest rates, which makes the cost of borrowing cheaper and tends to encourage consumers and businesses to spend and invest.

Conflicting economic data has complicated the Fed's decision-making.

"We don't see any evidence at all of overheating", Powell said in response to a Yahoo Finance question about whether or not stronger GDP readings in 2019 would point to a hot USA economy.

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Markets also are waiting for a reading of the Labor Department's non-farm payrolls data on Friday that is expected to show fewer job additions last month compared with March.

Officials also adjusted one of the tools they use to keep the fed funds rate within its target range, though Powell said the "change does not reflect any shift in the intended stance of monetary policy".

The central bank has faced other episodes of idiosyncratic price drops in recent years, such as one from a price war among cellphone network providers in 2017.

This rate is well below the Fed's 2 percent target.

He said China is boosting its economy by keeping rates low, but "Our Federal Reserve has incessantly lifted interest rates, even though inflation is very low".

Investors had been betting on the Fed to signal an interest rate cut due to the recent bout of weak inflation in the US- but their hopes were dashed by Mr Powell's comments. But Powell dismissed those fears as he has done repeatedly.

Among the factors Fed officials often cite to justify rate decisions, along with economic data, are "financial conditions". Headline gross domestic product growth remains strong, at an annualised 3.2 per cent in the first quarter, and some of the overseas risks that have nagged at policymakers in recent months appear to have diminished, particularly in China.

The latest Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting struck an arguably neutral tone despite the reaction we have witnessed overnight.

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