Jun 14, 2017

Fed announces 4th interest rate hike in 18 months

Cliff Owen/AP

The Federal Reserve will raise the rate at which banks borrow 0.25% to 1.125%, the fourth such increase since December of 2015. The move was announced Wednesday following the Fed's June meeting, and suggests Fed Chair Janet Yellen thinks the steadily falling unemployment rate will soon spark faster wage growth and overall price increases.

Not so fast: The board's statement was more cautious than the one it issued in March — reflecting the fact that core inflation growth has fallen for three straight months, a trend Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics calls "alarming, but not definitive." In other words, the Fed is currently sticking to its belief that inflation is going to accelerate this year — and that they must raise rates to head it off — but incoming data could cause it to abandon that view before July's meeting.

What it means for workers: The Fed thinks the U.S. economy is at full employment, and that significant further declines in the unemployment rate could spark a dangerous inflationary cycle. The concern is that low joblessness forces employers to pay higher wages, which then ups prices for products and services throughout the economy.

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In photos: Trump visits Taj Mahal after massive rally in India

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at the Taj Mahal. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump visited India's Taj Mahal on Monday, hours after telling a massive crowd at a rally in Ahmedabad that he hopes to reach a trade deal with his "true friend" Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his two-day visit to the country.

Why it matters: The countries are forging deeper ties as India’s location, size and economic growth make it the "obvious counterweight to China" for American policymakers.

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Coronavirus stress tests drug industry's dependence on China

A Hong Kong commuter wears a face mask. Photo: Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

It's unclear whether the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus will actually result in prescription drug shortages, but it has undoubtedly highlighted the potential vulnerabilities of having the supply chain for American drugs so dependent on China.

Driving the news: About 150 prescription drugs — including antibiotics, generics and some branded drugs without alternatives — are at risk of shortage if the coronavirus outbreak in China worsens, per two sources familiar with a list of at-risk drugs compiled by the Food and Drug Administration.

Bernie's path to the presidency

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks yesterday during a rally at Houston University. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

Lots of Democrats are in full panic that Bernie Sanders will win the nomination and get clobbered in the general election — and bring the party down, too. But the evidence, particularly the polling, doesn't back those doomsday warnings.

Why it matters: Virtually every national and swing state poll shows Sanders tied with or beating President Trump.  And, unlike every rival, he has a huge base of fervent, unshakable supporters he can only grow.