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ADMIN posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogFederal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen testifies before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, July 13, 2017, in Washington, DC. AFP/Chip Somodevilla WASHINGTON: The US Federal Reserve (Fed) kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged on Wednesday but gave no clear signal about the chances for another increase this year or about any concerns about low inflation. But the central bank did confirm that it plans to begin to reduce its massive bond holdings "relatively soon". In the absence of any signs of inflationary pressure, the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) elected to hold off on raising the key lending rate, and repeated that it "is monitoring inflation developments closely". That was largely as expected, and analysts said the Fed has nothing to gain by surprising markets, and no evidence in the data impelling it to move. But the statement at the conclusion of the two-day meeting gave economists very few hints of the Fed's thinking since it was barely changed from the statement issued in June when the central bank raised interest rates by a quarter point to the current range of 1.0-1.25 percent. Despite nearly seven years of uninterrupted job creation and a very low unemployment rate of 4.4 percent, inflationary pressures and wage gains have shown little sign of life, something that has baffled economists. The Fed has pointed to transitory factors like falling prices for mobile phone plans and prescription drugs, which will continue to depress closely watched inflation measures for some time. But some analysts are sceptical that those factors explain the whole story. "The Fed did the bare minimum today, acknowledging recent economic data and little else," Chris Low of FTN Financial said in a client note. "They clearly don't see any need to rethink their inflation forecast now." Inflation below 2% The Fed statement noted that the 12-month inflation rate, as well as the core measure that excludes volatile food and energy prices, have declined "and are running below two percent." The June statement said the rates were "somewhat below" that target -- one of the very few minor changes in the language. And while inflation is expected to remain under the central bank's two percent target in the coming months, the statement repeated the view that it is expected to "stabilise around the Committee's two percent objective over the medium term". But longtime Fed-watcher Mickey Levy of Berenberg Capital Markets said the signs to support that confidence are not visible in the data. "Broadly speaking, a sustained return of inflation to two percent seems further off," he said in a commentary. Even faced with this low-inflation picture, the committee said it continues to expect "economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant gradual increases" in the key policy interest rate. The Fed's own projections in June showed the majority of policymakers expect a third rate hike this year, and three each in 2018 and 2019. But analysts in recent weeks have become increasingly doubtful the Fed will decide to go ahead with a third increase in the benchmark lending rate this year, although a slight majority still sees another hike in December. "The soft inflation developments indicate that the risks are for a shallower path of rate hikes," Levy said. Joe Manimbo, the senior market analyst for Western Union Business Solutions, was blunter saying the Fed is "a bit more concerned about the inflation outlook which puts in jeopardy another rate hike this year." Balance sheet normalisation Meanwhile, the central bank also confirmed that it will begin implementation of a plan "relatively soon" to reduce the size of its investment holdings, which were built up to record levels during the financial crisis to help support the economy, especially once interest rates reached zero. As long as the economy "evolves broadly as anticipated", the so-called normalisation plan would gradually reduce the holdings of mortgage-backed securities, the statement said. Most analysts expect the process to start in September but once it begins it will run in the background, on a set course with very gradual moves, and will not require further announcements from the FOMC.
waqas dar posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogHEREFORD: Police in West Midlands have arrested a man with knives and an axe near an Army Reserve centre, reported the BBC. The 23-year-old man was arrested on Sunday night. Police officials said there was nothing to indicate that there was a threat to the army centre and was not related to the terror attack in Finsbury Park, London. The man?s motives are not yet known and he is in custody, BBC quoted police officials as saying. ?On identifying the man our officers took prompt action to contain the threat and take him into custody,? said Asst Ch Con Martin Evans of West Mercia Police. He added that an "extremely sensitive investigation" was being carried out and added that additional police patrols would take place in the town to safeguard the citizens.
waqas dar posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogBANDIPUR: The Indian Reserve Police?s headquarter was attacked early morning on Monday in Indian occupied Kashmir?s Bandipur district, according to Indian media reports. The Indian security forces claimed to have killed four attackers in the resultant exchange. A complete shutdown owing to a state curfew and other restrictions was observed in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) on May 28, against the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sabzar Ahmed Butt and 11 other youth by Indian troops, the Kashmir Media Service reported. Read more: Complete shutdown observed in IoK The two-day strike in the valley was called by the joint Hurriyet leadership comprising Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Mohammad Yasin Malik against the killings and use of brute force on civilians Indian by troops. The leaders also called for a march to Tral on Tuesday to pay tribute to Sabzar and other youth martyred yesterday by Indian troops in Pulwama and Baramulla areas.