The U.S. Federal Reserve (FED) has upped the funds rate under the auspices of its chair Jerome Powell for the second time this year. It’s an expected continuation of Powell’s last hike in March 2108 when the rate was upped to 1.75 points. Powell on Wednesday added 0.25 points to the rate, raising the ceiling to 2 points. Two more hikes have been indicated for this year.
Ever since the world economic crisis ten years ago, the American central bank had flat-lined the base rate in order to stimulate the markets. From late 2008 to the end of 2015 the rate ceiling had stood at 0.25 percent. The first upward move to tighten the dollars viscosity was in December 2015 when the FED decided moved the benchmark interest rate up 0.25 points to between 0.50 percent and 0.75, and signaled a faster pace of increases in 2017.