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Fed Rate Could Be Raised on Jobs Growth Report

It appears the Federal Reserve will raise its benchmark interest rate on March 15 after strong jobs growth, traders say.

Markets which track investors’ expectations for the key rate give a near 100% likelihood of a rise.

It would be only the third time in a decade that the Fed has increased rates.

Analysts said the odds strengthened on March 10 after figures showed better than expected jobs growth in February.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers added 235,000 new jobs, exceeding economists’ forecasts.

Fed chair Janet Yellen said last week that the central bank could raise rates in March if employment and inflation figures met their expectations.

The central bank increased rates, which have been at near-historic lows since the financial crisis, to a range of 0.5% to 0.75% in December.

According to Bloomberg data, the futures market for the key Federal fund interest rate puts the likelihood of a rate rise at between 98% and 100%.

Traders also see better than even odds of two further rate rises this year, based on the price of Fed funds futures contracts traded at CME Group’s Chicago Board of Trade.

The Fed’s next meeting will conclude on March 15.

The Trump administration also welcomed the jobs figures, which covered the president’s first full month in office.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that the figures were “great news for American workers… in first report for [President] Trump”.