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Financial News: Fed Meeting In Focus Amid Uncertainty About Interest

Fed Meeting In Focus Amid Uncertainty About Interest Rate Outlook

03/18/2024 - 09:03:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The Federal Reserve's monetary policy meeting will be it the spotlight this week, with the central bank due to announce its latest interest rate decision on Wednesday.

The Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, but the accompanying statement and economic projections could have a significant impact on the outlook for rates.

Recent hotter-than-expected inflation readings have reduced optimism about the likelihood of the Fed's first rate cut coming in June.

CME Group's FedWatch Tool is currently indicating a 55.5 percent chance the Fed will cut rates by a quarter point in June but a 41.5 percent chance rates will remain unchanged.

The Fed's announcement is likely to overshadow several key housing reports this week, including this morning's report on homebuilder confidence in the month of March.

The report from the National Association of Home Builders is expected to show the housing market index came in unchanged in March after rising to 48 in February.

On Tuesday, the Commerce Department is due to release its report on new residential construction in the month of February.

Housing starts are expected to jump to an annual rate of 1.435 million in February after plunging to a rate of 1.331 million in January, while building permits are expected to rise to a rate of 1.500 million in February after falling to a rate of 1.470 million in January.

The National Association of Realtors is also scheduled to release its report on existing home sales in the month of February on Thursday.

Economists expect existing home sales to dip to an annual rate of 3.95 million in February after jumping to a rate of 4.00 million in January.

Reports on weekly jobless claims, Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity and leading economic indicators may also attract attention later this week along with remarks by Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Friday.

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