Powell has not yet tipped his hand.
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The Federal Reserve's first meeting under Jerome Powell's leadership will likely end Wednesday with an announcement that the Fed will resume its modest interest rate hikes.Speaking to Congress last month, the new chairman said his "personal outlook" on the economy had strengthened since December, when the Fed's policymakers collectively forecast three rate hikes for 2018, the same as in 2017 .If economic growth does pick up and the job market remains healthy, the Powell Fed is viewed as likely to accelerate its rate hikes, from the three it projected in December to four this year. Even after five rate increases over the past 27 months, the Fed's benchmark rate remains in a still-low range of 1.25 percent to 1.5 percent, up from a record low near zero as recently as December 2015 . The Fed's slighter higher key rate has, however, contributed to higher consumer loan rates, including for home mortgages.Even if the Fed does not explicitly predict four rate hikes for this year, it could effectively signal as much by upgrading its expectations for growth.
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