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US Fed begins crawl toward rate hike as near-term risks diminish

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Washington - Federal Reserve policy makers took a step toward raising interest rates later this year but stopped short of signalling that the move could come as soon as September.

Federal Open Market Committee members upgraded their assessment of the economy in their monetary policy statement, released on Wednesday after their two-day meeting. They declared that near-term risks to the outlook have diminished and said labour utilisation has shown “some increase,” though inflation remains too low.

The dollar weakened against almost all of its major peers, losing 0.5% to the yen as bets on a rate hike remained below 50% after the Fed’s July review.

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