March Rate Hike Still on the Table

Asian shares slipped Thursday after the latest Fed minutes raised the possibility that a U.S. rate hike could come sooner than expected.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.4 percent to 19,312.07 and South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.1 percent to 2,104.70. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.5 percent to 24,088.57 and the Shanghai Composite index in mainland China retreated 0.3 percent to 3,251.95. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.3 percent to 5,790.60.

RATE HORIZON: At their meeting last month, Federal Reserve officials discussed the need to raise a key interest rate again “fairly soon,” especially if the world’s No. 1 economy maintains its strength, according to the minutes. Most economists had been expecting a rate hike no earlier than June, but the discussion raises the possibility it could come as soon as March. Investors were waiting for policymakers to follow up their talk with concrete action, but that also hinges on more details from U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration on his economy-boosting plans. Ultralow interest rates have fueled a multiyear global stock rally and the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates has lifted the dollar and made the U.S. still more attractive than other markets for investors.

TRADER TALK: The minutes “revealed a consensus among Fed members to raise rates, but the minutes offered up little more than studiously ambiguous double talk by suggesting a rate hike would be delivered ‘fairly soon’,” said Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA. “Short-term dollar speculators were hoping the Feds would produce a more meaningful time frame” while Fed chief Janet Yellen was “awaiting clarity regarding the yet-to-be implemented Trump policies,” he said.

ABC News

 

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Stephen Innes

Stephen Innes

Senior Currency Trader and Analyst at OANDA
Stephen has over 25 years of experience in the financial markets and specializes in Asian currencies at OANDA. After having started his trading career with NatWest Bank, he is currently based in Singapore as a Senior Currency Trader and Analyst with OANDA, focusing on the movement of the Aussie Dollar and ASEAN Currencies. Stephen has an extensive trading experience in Interest Rate Futures, Money Markets and Precious Metals. Prior to joining OANDA, he worked with organizations like Cambridge Mercantile, Nat West, Garvin Guy Butler, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. Stephen was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and holds a Degree in Economics from the University of Western Ontario.
Stephen Innes
Stephen Innes

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