It appears the Federal Reserve will raise its benchmark interest rate on March 15 after strong jobs growth, traders say.
Markets which track investors’ expectations for the key rate give a near 100% likelihood of a rise.
It would be only
the third time in a decade that the Fed has increased rates.
Analysts said the odds strengthened on March 10 after figures showed better than expected jobs growth in February.
According to the
Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers added 235,000 new jobs, exceeding economists’ forecasts.
Fed chair Janet Yellen said last week that the central bank could raise rates in March if employment and inflation figures met their expectations.
The central bank increased rates, which have been at near-historic lows since the financial crisis, to a range of
0.5% to 0.75% in December.
According to Bloomberg data, the futures market for the key Federal fund interest rate puts the likelihood of a rate rise at between 98% and 100%.
Traders also see better than even odds of two further rate rises this year, based on the price of Fed funds futures contracts traded at CME Group’s Chicago Board of Trade.
The Fed’s next meeting will conclude on March 15.
The Trump administration also welcomed the jobs figures, which covered the president’s first full month in office.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that the figures were “great news for American workers… in first report for [President] Trump”.
According to the latest figures from the Labor Department, the US economy created 288,000 jobs in April, the strongest monthly job creation since January 2012.
The largest jobs gain came in professional and business services, which added 75,000 jobs during the month.
The unemployment rate fell to 6.3%, according to the Labor Department.
However, economists caution that figure was flattered by a sharp decline in the size of the labor force.
The US economy created 288,000 jobs in April, the strongest monthly job creation since January 2012
Nevertheless it is the lowest unemployment rate since September 2008.
There was also some disappointment over weak wage growth. Average hourly earnings in the private sector did not increase in April and over the past year wages are up a modest 1.9%.
The latest unemployment figures are another piece of evidence showing that the US economy is recovering from a harsh winter.
The weather was blamed for a sharp slowdown in US growth in the first quarter to an annual rate of 0.1%.
But economists say Friday’s strong job report underlines that the GDP figures released on Wednesday were an anomaly.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve continued to cut back its effort to boost the economy.
The Fed said it would trim its monthly bond purchases by an additional $10 billion to $45 billion.
The central bank has been buying bonds to keep long-term interest rates low and stimulate economic activity.
[youtube Nw-mhdbBQcg 650]