These three things will change the world today.
1. Fed rates hold steady
Today, the Federal Reserve (Fed), the central US banking system, will announce its latest policy decisions after a two-day meeting in Washington to assess US economic growth.
The Fed increased US interest rates last month for the first time in a decade to a target range of between 0.50 percent and 0.75 percent, but recent statements from the Fed chair Janet Yellen cast doubt on the likelihood of another interest rate hike this time around.
So far, the beginning of Donald Trump’s US presidency has been met with market enthusiasm; spurred on by his promises to boost infrastructure spending, lower taxes and create more jobs.
However, some of Trump’s recent policies, in particular his travel ban announcement on Friday saw stocks in the US and across the world fall.
The Fed is likely to remain cautious, according to Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics.
“At the moment there’s incredible uncertainty surrounding fiscal policy and the potential for stimulus and the composition of that,” Ashworth told CNBC. “The Fed can’t react until it knows what to react to.”
The Fed is due to publish its decision at 7pm London time.
2. India’s budget announcement
India’s government unveiled its annual budget today, with promises to increase rural spending and help people out of poverty.
The measures come after India’s demonetisation policy was introduced last November, resulting in a severe cash shortage across the country.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley said funds would be allocated to improve infrastructure, from ensuring reliable electricity supplies to building more roads.
The government also announced plans to spend a record $7.1bn on a scheme to guarantee every rural household 100 days of work annually.
3. Protests in Romania
Yesterday, Romania’s government decriminalised official misconduct in a blow to anti-corruption campaigners.
The social democrat PSD-led government passed the measure by emergency ordinance, bypassing parliament in the process.
Protests erupted in cities across Romania after the announcement.
An estimated 15,000 demonstrators gathered outside the main government offices in the capital Bucharest.
Some chanted “You did it at night, like thieves,” referring to the government’s decision to pass the legislation late at night.
Florin Iordache, the justice minister, said that the decree would decriminalise the offence of official misconduct in cases where the damage was valued at less than 200,000 lei ($47,800).
“From today on, my mission is to re-establish the rule of law. I will do everything I can to make Romania a country free of corruption, until the last day of my mandate,” he said.
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