Asian Stocks Set to Slide as Bonds Rise After Fed: Markets Wrap

The Federal Reserve Bank Building in Washington D.C

Wednesday's decision brings the Fed's target for the federal funds rate, which covers overnight loans between banks, to a range of 1 percent to 1.25 percent. It's the third increase in rates by the Fed since December of 2016.

Should the data pick up, it would support the case for the Fed tightening policy and weaken the argument for buying bonds. The Federal Reserve is also likely to raise rates at least one more time this year, unless something unexpected happens to the economy (such as a blowup this year over the debt ceiling).

The Fed has announced that at some point this year it is likely to begin the process of gradually reducing its massive holdings of US treasuries and mortgage backed securities, now worth $4.5 trillion.

"We don't think the recent data call for a major change in the Fed's policy outlook, as they have have broadly offsetting implications for the policy outlook in standard Taylor rules".

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Supporting that view, members of the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee indicated that they expected one more 0.25 percentage point increase this year and three next year - the same as they had forecast in March.

The administration's budget does expect the federal government's interest rate costs to rise, but that is due to the faster economic growth the program is expected to foster, Mulvaney said.

The average 30-year fixed mortgage had a rate of 4.02% on Weds., June 14 - the lowest since November 16, 2016 - and an average of 0.24 discount and origination points.

The Fed said it expects U.S. inflation to be at 1.7 per cent by the end of this year, down from the 1.9 per cent previously forecast.

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This is the second interest rate rise in three months, and most analysts expect that the Fed will increase rates once more this year.

'I still expect this to be the last hike for 2017, given emerging headwinds for the USA economy, in particular for consumption, as well as the worryingly weak inflation and wage growth paths'.

Also yesterday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen declined to say whether she would stay on for a second term if asked by President Trump. European stocks lost ground, while Asian markets closed with losses (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asia-pacific-markets-slide-after-fed-rate-hike-2017-06-14). As well as the progress of the US economy, investors will be eager to receive an update on the central bank's plan to trim its $4.5 trillion balance sheet. The hike will push rates above 1 percent for the first time since the immediate aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

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