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Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Fed Chair Jerome Powell made clear at the Fed's June policy meeting that the U.S. central bank is ready to cut interest rates — just not yet.

What it means: Powell looks to be facing pressure from all sides — President Trump, other central banks and even members of the Fed's rate-setting committee — to lower interest rates. His press conference suggested that his heart's not in it, but he's ready to go.

  • U.S. stocks rallied for the 3rd straight day and yields on short-dated U.S. Treasury bonds tumbled after the release of the Fed's statement. The dollar weakened against every major currency.

Why it matters: The cut itself is inconsequential, analysts say. With the Fed funds rate still barely above the rate of inflation, cutting it 25 basis points makes little to no difference to the economy.

  • "The real impact is limited, but the sentimental impact is that the Fed stands at the ready to send a lifeline to markets," Brown Brothers Harriman Chief Investment Strategist Scott Clemons told Axios last month.
  • "Even talk of a Fed rate cut sends the message to markets that 'We're watching your back.'"

Without the Fed taking any concrete policy action, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note has fallen to its lowest in 2 years, dragging U.S. mortgage rates to near record lows.

  • Falling rates in the bond market could help reverse auto loan rates, which recently rose to the highest for new car financing since 2008 and the highest for commercial bank lending since 2011, according to the Fed's data.

What he said: "Uncertainties about this outlook have increased.... The Committee will closely monitor the implications of incoming information … and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion."

Between the lines: "The Fed left rates on hold but sent a clear message the next move is a cut. The only question now is the timing," analysts at Bank of America-Merrill-Lynch wrote in a note to clients.

Of note: As with the shift away from central bank policy tightening at the beginning of the year, Powell is following, not leading, the charge. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has cleared the path for both policy pivots globally, as Europe's steadily weakening economy has led deteriorating figures on trade from the U.S.

Go deeper: White House considered "legality of demoting" Fed Chair

Go deeper

Scoop: Trump-backed Perdue says he wouldn’t have certified Georgia 2020 results

Perdue at a December 2020 campaign event in Columbus, Ga. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue wouldn’t have signed the certification of the state’s 2020 election results if he had been governor at the time, the former Senate Republican told Axios.

  • “Not with the information that was available at the time and not with the information that has come out now. They had plenty of time to investigate this. And I wouldn’t have signed it until those things had been investigated and that’s all we were asking for," he said.

Why it matters: There has been no evidence widespread fraud took place in Georgia's elections last year and the November results were counted three times, once by hand.

Beijing Olympics: These countries have announced diplomatic boycotts

Photo: Zhang Qiang/VCG via Getty Images

Several countries, including Canada and Australia, have announced they will join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to protest human rights abuses committed by China's government.

Driving the news: Leaders have faced pressure from human rights groups and others to boycott the Games, pointing to the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang region and other abuses.

Biden directs federal government to become carbon neutral by 2050

President Biden speaking to reporters outside of the White House on Dec. 8.

President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday that requires the federal government achieve multiple goals related to reducing its carbon emissions, including achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Why it matters: Meeting the objectives of the order would require a massive investment by the federal government to buy electric vehicles, upgrade buildings and change how it procures electricity.