Quite a lot has happened in our economy since the Fed’s last quarter-point rate increase a year ago. That hike was the first following seven years of what I believe is the most accommodative monetary policy period in U.S. history, starting us on a path that seemed relatively clear for a successive string of rate “normalizations” at the tail-end of 2015 and beginning of 2016.
Unfortunately, over the ensuing few months, a string of hiccups threatened to derail the economy, markets and what was then a still budding rise in consumer confidence. What followed over a relatively brief time span were headline fears of a recessionary redux and, just as quickly, the start of a roller-coaster ride in the global financial markets. Fast forward to today, global economic fears have subsided, investor confidence has rebounded (as have the financial markets), the unemployment rate is now at a nine-year low and, most recently, OPEC’s agreement to “coordinate” oil flows should provide a new (and potentially higher) floor price for oil, at least until the next Mideast squabble.
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