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A usual quarter percent rate hike on Wednesday would bring the Fed funds target rate to just 1 percent.

Wall Street's top banks were unanimous on the view the Fed would raise rates at its policy meeting, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

Suppressed interest rates in the USA have made other asset classes, most notably equities and housing, more attractive.

"They do not have as much room to be patient as they did before", said Tim Duy, an economics professor at the University of OR, who expects Fed policymakers to lift their rate forecasts this week. Rising rates have meant lower returns for stocks.

Aside from the Fed, rate decisions are expected form the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan. "With this in mind, markets have mostly gone into hibernation", Rand Merchant Bank currency strategist John Cairns said in a note. "I think it's a little early for that". The Federal Reserve may raise interest rates, more countries around the world may move to shake up the economic status quo and several high-profile updates on the US economy are coming out this week.

As Fed policymakers prepare to raise rates this week for the second time in three months, the inflation terrain they face looks steeper than it has been since the financial crisis when one of the central bank's policy aims was to generate inflation. A rise in interest rates would encourage an influx of funds into the USA, pushing up the dollar relative to other countries.

So rates have risen quickly but they are still low.

Sentiment amon miners was boosted by a continuing recovery in Chinese steel and iron ore futures, which were both up more than 3 per cent in afternoon trade after a spike in Chinese property sales in the first two months of the year suggested steel demand will remain supported.

To protect against that risk, anyone who is in the market for a fixed-rate mortgage is well advised to lock in a pre-approval in the meantime. "That being said, one or two rate increases will not be a high rate".

"It's really just based on the data - we think the balance is on the upside", said Citi Global Markets director of equity sales Karen Jorritsma, making reference to last week's stronger-than-expected USA jobs data.

The economy already appears closer to its goals than the Fed had expected in December, the last time it released forecasts.

"As the economy starts to improve, entrepreneurs need to keep an eye on their interest costs and to make sure they're ready to either lock in those rates or use growth to pay down some debt to make sure [they're] not too exposed", he added. "We are getting to the stage where four hikes this year could be in the cards".

But four rate rises is based on an erroneous reading of the health of the United States economy - it is not running at a 3% plus growth rate would indicate, based on the stepped up level of jobs creation in the winter and the rise in wages.

The central bank, said Curcio, is not so much working to create economic conditions as it is trying to maintain balance as these scenarios unfold in the real world. They are a relic of a time when our economy was broken, but it is not broken anymore. European Central Bank president Mario Draghi gave his own mission accomplished declaration last week saying that "our monetary policy has been successful".


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