What the Federal Reserve's rate cut decision means

Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell

Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell

The decision also comes as Trump continues to criticize Powell, suggesting he might still be willing to try to demote the country's top central banker. The central bank kept rates unchanged.

The Federal Reserve did not change interest rates Wednesday but strongly signaled a willingness to cut soon to prevent the economy from slowing further.

Seven of the 17 are forecasting two rate decreases by the end of 2019, according to projections that were also released Wednesday.

"In light of these uncertainties and muted inflation pressures, the Committee will closely monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion, with a strong labor market and inflation near its symmetric 2% objective", the FOMC statement said. Lowering the rate can help stimulate the economy as well as increase inflation, which remains shy of the Fed's target of 2% a year. Trump wants the Fed to keep interest rates low; on Wednesday, policymakers voted nearly unanimously to keep interest rates steady, but remained split about future rate movement.

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One important sign that policymakers are ready to give the economy some gas: The Fed is no longer saying it will be "patient" in adjusting rates, dropping a favorite word that markets took to mean that interest rates would stay flat. Instead, officials said they will "act as appropriate to sustain the expansion".

On Tuesday, Bank of England governor Mark Carney said that Libra could be subject to the "highest standards" in global regulation and that the United Kingdom central bank would be looking "very closely" at the initiative.

Powell also noted that "we don't have plenary authority over cryptocurrencies" when asked if the Fed would directly oversee Libra, but he highlighted the Fed's role in global regulatory groups, suggesting that the USA central bank would likely have input in any regulations that take shape in the wake of Facebook's Libra debut. Lower interest rates traditionally spur inflation.

His comments came a day after it emerged Trump had discussed demoting Powell.

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