Money Minute Wednesday 18 September: UK inflation and US interest rates

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This morning, we get the UK inflation figures for August.

In July, annual inflation came in at 2.1%, almost bang on the Bank of England’s target. Markets expect the rate to have drifted lower to 1.9%. A stronger-than-expected reading could boost sterling, although the pound is still at the mercy of headlines on Brexit.

The biggest news of the day comes later in the evening when we get the Federal Reserve’s latest decision on interest rates. The Fed is viewed as being almost certain to cut rates by a quarter of a percentage point from the current level, to between 1.75% and 2%. But the focus will fall on what the Fed might do next.

Markets – and the US president – are hoping for a lot more loosening. Yet this is hard for the Fed to justify, given rising inflation and solid labour market figures – and the spike in oil prices had only added another complication to the mix.