Fed likely to leave rates alone but signal readiness to cut

FILE - In this June 4, 2019, file photo Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks at a conference involving its review of its interest-rate policy strategy and communications in Chicago. On Wednesday, June 19, the Federal Reserve releases its latest monetary policy statement and updated economic projections. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

WASHINGTON — Jerome Powell has tantalized the financial world with the prospect that the Federal Reserve he leads may soon cut interest rates for the first time in over a decade.

Probably not quite yet, though.

When the Fed issues a policy statement Wednesday and Powell holds a news conference, the message will likely echo the theme the chairman struck in a speech early this month: That the Fed will act if it thinks the Trump administration's trade conflicts are threatening the U.S. economy.

Powell's remarks were seen as a signal that the Fed will likely cut rates later this year, and the stock market surged in response.

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