The last trading week was dominated by the Federal Reserve interest rate decision. In line with expectations, the US central bank maintained interest rates and the bond buyout program. However, a change in the dot plot brought a big surprise: while no interest rate increases were expected in March, the Fed is now reporting two interest rate increases in 2023.
Although Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, during the press conference following the decision, tried to get de angel out with the remark to take the altered dot plot with a grain of salt, this could not reassure the market.
The remaining part of the trading week, markets around the world tried to cope with the aggressive turn of the US central bank.
As the US economy re-opens, the demand for staff is rising very strongly, as evidenced by the sharp increase in job vacancies. Companies also report that they are struggling to fill all these vacancies. Yet there are still more than 7 million Americans who had a job in February 2020, but are not working now. The key question is how many of these unemployed will return to work once the current incentive for unemployment benefits ends and the vaccines allow a full return to normal life. Most of these vacancies to be filled eventually, but if a shortage of willing and qualified employees persists, this could lead to continued wage pressure and inflation.