|14 December, 2016

Investors will be watching closely the Fed's decision

Markets expect quarter-point rise

14 December 2016

Investors are looking at whether the Federal Reserve will signal any acceleration in the pace of future rate increases. 

In its policy meeting ending later in the day, the Fed could raise its interest rate target by 0.25 percentage point to 0.50-0.75 percent, which would be just the second rate hike since the financial crisis in 2007-08, following the tightening last December. 

The dollar's index against a basket of six major currencies stabilised around 101.05 in early Asian trade, having slipped from 101.78 touched early on Monday. 

Asia shares crept cautiously higher on Wednesday as investors felt certain the Federal Reserve would raise rates for the first time in a year, but were less sure what it might herald for 2017. 

Stock markets in the Gulf pulled back on Tuesday as investors turned their attention to an expected U.S. interest rate hike on Wednesday and the upcoming Saudi Arabian state budget for 2017.

Oil prices fell on Wednesday following a reported rise in U.S. crude inventories and an estimate that OPEC may have produced more crude in November than previously thought, potentially undermining a planned output cut. 

Gold prices edged higher in Asian trade on Wednesday as markets waited for the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting later in the day.  

In the latest news, China aims to invest 2 trillion yuan ($290 billion) in tourism by 2020 by attracting more private investment into the industry, China's state planner said on Wednesday. 

Italian lender Monte dei Paschi di Siena confirmed on Tuesday that the European Central Bank had rejected its request for more time to raise capital, a move that piles pressure on the Italian government to inject money into the bank.

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