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Fed chair Jerome Powell speaks at a conference in Chicago. Photo: Scott Olson via Getty Images

The Federal Reserve kept interest rates on hold on Wednesday, but signaled that rate cuts could be coming down the road. It removed the key word "patient" from its policy statement, while noting that "uncertainties" about its previously rosy economic outlook have increased.

Why it matters: This marks a significant shift in tone for the central bank. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is facing pressure with roaring markets pricing in a number of rate cuts before the end of the year and an economy that’s thought to be on shaky ground. In the meantime, President Trump has been trying to strong-arm the Fed to put the U.S. on a "level playing field" by lowering interest rates.

Details: Powell told reporters at a press conference that a number of "crosscurrents" — including heightened trade tensions between the U.S. and China — have re-emerged since the Fed's last meeting, raising concerns about the global economy. Still, the Fed's median target for GDP growth in 2019 remained at 2.1%, while GDP growth next year was upgraded to 2.0% from 1.9%. In the meantime, the Fed pretty dramatically scaled back its expectations for inflation this year.

  • Powell said that the Fed would not "overreact" to a single data point (i.e. the weak jobs growth last month).
  • Of note: This is the first rate decision in Powell's term that wasn't unanimous. The dissenter was St. Louis Fed president James Bullard, who said the Fed should have cut rates by 25 basis points.

Powell didn't directly acknowledge Trump's recent Fed attacks, including recent reports that Trump looked into the legality of "demoting" Powell.

  • What Powell did say: “I think the law is clear that I have a four year term, and I fully intend to serve it."

The bottom line: "The Fed appears to be focused on walking a fine line, attempting to provide reassurance that the economy remains on track, while still opening the door even further to the potential for rate cuts in the coming months with the goal of extending the current [economic] expansion," Jim Baird, chief investment officer at Plante Moran, an investment firm, wrote in a note to clients.

Go deeper

Rep. Rice demands Cuomo resign after 3rd woman accuses him of misconduct

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February news conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) on Monday evening called for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign, after a third woman accused him of inappropriate behavior.

Driving the news: Anna Ruch, a former member of the Obama administration and the 2020 Biden campaign, told the New York Times Monday that Cuomo asked to kiss her at a New York City wedding reception in September 2019.

Scoop: Inside the GOP's plan to retake the House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Republicans will reclaim their majority in 2022 by offering candidates who are women, minorities or veterans, a memo obtained by Axios says.

Why it matters: The document, drafted by a super PAC blessed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, names top Democrats to target — Jared Golden of Maine, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania and Ron Kind of Wisconsin — and the type of Republican candidates to beat them.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump talked out of early Ohio endorsement

Jane Timken at a 2017 Trump rally. Photo: Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Donald Trump had to be talked out of making an early endorsement in Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate race, a sign of his eagerness to reengage politically, people familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

What we're hearing: The former president discussed endorsing former state GOP chair Jane Timken last week during a meeting at Mar-a-Lago with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, but top advisers — including Donald Trump Jr. — urged him to wait.