20/12/2018 - Fed Hikes For The 4th Time

USD

Late on in yesterdays session the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the fourth time this year, but signalled a more patient approach raising rates next year amid signs that the economy is starting to weaken.

Central bankers unanimously agreed under Chairman Jerome Powell to lift the federal funds rate to a range of 2.25% and 2.5%. At their final two-day policy-setting meeting for the year, policymakers said they might not need to raise rates as quickly next year as they previously thought.

Powell said there were a number of "cross-currents emerging" that prompted most officials to "modestly" lower their growth forecasts next year. Policymakers made clear they are attuned to global and financial headwinds facing the US economy, and said they would continue to monitor developments and the impact on their outlook going forward.

The decision by the Fed comes after an unprecedented public pressure campaign by US President Donald Trump. Trump urged the Fed to move cautiously "before they make another mistake."

GBP

Yesterday comments from Theresa Mays opposition, the leader of the Labour party Jeremy Corbyn, dominated the headlines. Corbyn has criticized May in recent weeks having delayed the vote till next month and has accused May of ‘running down the clock’ to force a decision between the current Brexit withdrawal agreement or a no-deal scenario. Corbyn called the current establishment the “most shambolic and chaotic government in modern history” adding “The prime minister has led us into a national crisis.”

With regards to the current Brexit withdrawal agreement, labour are keen to push a vote as early as possible to leave time for alternative plans to be put into motion in light of expectations that the month of delays will result in “not a single word renegotiated and not a single reassurance given".

Key Announcements

09:30AM – GBP: Retail Sales expected to increase to 0.3%
12:00PM – GBP: MPC Official Bank Rate Votes

12:00PM – GBP: Monetary Policy Summary