US Fed officials see future of rate hikes "less clear"

Bullard Warns of a U.S. Recession If Fed Keeps Raising RatesMore

"I would expect them to repeat that the economy is strong", Scotiabank economist Derek Holt said. "And particularly with muted inflation readings that we've seen coming in, we will be patient as we watch to see how the economy evolves".

"These recent developments...represent crosswinds to the US economy".

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged 0.2 percent higher, while Japan's benchmark Nikkei advanced 1.1 percent in early trade.

Asked about the expectations for the Fed's policy meeting later this month, Powell said, "you should anticipate we are going to be patient and watching and waiting and seeing". He said he didn't know the exact level.

Since the December meeting, a rising number of policymakers, including Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, have argued for patience.

The FTSE 100 is on track for its best week in three months after global stocks were lifted by reassurances from the US Federal Reserve that it could be patient about interest rate rises.

Why? Powell said recent recessions have been caused by the Fed having to "hit the brakes" to combat high inflation or "asset bubbles".

Speaking to an audience in Washington, D.C, Powell delivered the same reassuring message that bolstered markets last Friday.

Saudi Arabia: women should be informed via SMS about their divorce
The new measure was approved by the country's justice ministry on Sunday, Agence France-Presse reports citing local media. Basically, the reason for this new concept is so that women in Saudi won't be divorced without their knowledge.

Clarida is the latest United States central banker to refine the Fed's monetary message after the hawkish tone of their Dec 19 statement and forecasts for further rate hikes in 2019 roiled financial markets.

The more flexible approach, apparent in the minutes and in recent speeches, has supported stock prices. A couple of participants noted that the tightening in financial conditions so far did not appear to be restraining real activity, although a more persistent tightening would undoubtedly weigh on business and household spending.

"I don't see anything that suggests the possibility of a recession in the near term is at all elevated", he said.

Powell also anxious about the lack of key economic statistics during the government shutdown that the Fed uses to take the temperature of the economy, such as retail sales and GDP growth.

At the same time, Powell acknowledged that financial markets are expressing concern about risks. Rubenstein also hosts an interview show on Bloomberg Television. Fed chairs have met with presidents in the past, he added.

The Fed raised rates for a fourth time in 2018 at its December meeting and signaled that it would raise rates another two times in 2019.

Fed officials and many forecasters expect growth to slow in 2019, but to remain strong enough to continue generating jobs and keeping the unemployment rate near its nearly 50-year low.

Even so, US central bankers face a challenging year that's complicating their communication.

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