FILE - In this March 1, 2018, file photo, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies as he gives the semiannual monetary policy report to the Senate Banking Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Federal Reserve’s first meeting under Powell’s leadership will likely end Wednesday, March 21, with an announcement that the Fed will resume its modest interest rate hikes. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

What's likely as Fed meeting ends and Powell takes questions

March 20, 2018 - 11:35 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve officials are meeting this week for the first time under their new chairman, Jerome Powell, whose news conference to follow is stirring high anticipation.

The Fed is set to announce its first interest rate increase of the year, a testament to the continued strength of the economy and of the job market in particular. The central bank raised rates modestly three times in 2017 under Powell's predecessor, Janet Yellen, whom he succeeded last month. Over time, a rise in the Fed's benchmark rate tends to cause many consumer and business loan rates, including mortgages, to rise as well.

Once its meeting ends at 2 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, the Fed will issue a policy statement and update its economic projections before Powell begins taking questions from reporters.

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