The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to deliver its third consecutive interest rate cut on Wednesday as it seeks to protect a strong U.S. economy from a global economic slowdown and the U.S. trade war with China.
Investors and economists expect a quarter-point rate cut, which would bring the benchmark rate down to 1.5 to 1.75 per cent, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch Tool.
It would mark the third such reduction in as many gatherings of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee since July.
The U.S. central bank is set to announce its decision at 2 pm (1800 GMT) on Wednesday.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has not pushed back against market expectations of a rate cut ahead of the meeting.
Analysts will closely scrutinise Powell’s remarks on Wednesday for hints as to whether Fed officials will leave the door open to a further cut at their next meeting in December, or whether they are inclined to pause for the remainder of the year.
Lowering interest rates makes its cheaper to borrow money and could trigger increased investment and consumer spending, while too-large rate cuts could cause unwanted inflation.
U.S. President Donald Trump has been pushing for lower interest rates, tweeting on Tuesday: “We have unlimited potential, only held back by the Federal Reserve.”
Powell has indicated the central bank will not make decisions based on political pressure.
Before July, the last time the Fed cut rates was in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis.