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No interest rate change expected from Federal Reserve policy meeting


No interest rate change expected from Federal Reserve policy meeting


Federal Reserve officials are all but certain to leave the cost of borrowing unchanged at their two-day policy meeting that ends on Wednesday.

The US central bank – which raised rates last December for the first time in nearly a decade – is meeting as disappointing economic statistics were released.

We just learned that orders for long-lasting US manufactured goods rebounded far less than expected in March.

Demand for cars, computers and electrical goods slumped, suggesting the downturn in the manufacturing sector was far from over.

The Commerce Department said orders for durable goods – items ranging from toasters to aircraft meant to last three years or more – increased 0.8 percent last month after declining 3.1 percent in February.

Manufacturing, which accounts for 12 percent of the US economy, is struggling with the lingering effects of the dollar’s past surge and sluggish overseas demand.

Recent reports on retail sales, trade and industrial production show economic growth slowed further in the first three months of the year and new surveys confirm consumer confidence also slipped in April.

“These disappointing reports will likely add to the caution at the Fed. Given the weak performance in these two key segments of the economy, we expect the rebound in growth momentum in the second quarter to be quite weak,” said Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities in New York.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index fell 1.9 points to a reading of 94.2 in April. Consumers were a bit pessimistic on the economy’s short-term prospects, implying they did not expect a pick-up in activity.

Households’ views of the employment market were mixed this month. The share of consumers who believed jobs were “plentiful” slipped, while those who said employment was “hard to get” fell.

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