– This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on March 16, Thursday.
Welcome to CNBC Business Daily, I'm Qian Chen.
For the second time in three months, the Federal Reserve increased its benchmark interest rate a quarter point amid rising confidence that the economy is poised for more robust growth.
The move, widely anticipated by financial markets, takes the overnight funds rate to a target range of 0.75 percent to 1 percent and sets the Fed on a likely path of regular hikes ahead.
With a higher rate already baked into the market, investors were looking for clues about just how aggressive the central bank will be down the road.
Some market participants had feared that the statement and accompanying economic projections Wednesday would point to a more hawkish Fed, with a faster pace of rate hikes ahead. However, the closely watched "dot plot" comforted the market.
The chart shows the anonymous interest rate forecasts of Fed officials, and it's used by the market to determine where the central bank believes rates are going, including its longer-term neutral rate.
Here are the Fed's latest targets, released in Wednesday's statement.
The market currently expects the Fed to hike two more times this year, which was in line with the bank's projections from December 2016.
According to the newly-released chart, the Fed still sees the federal funds rate at 1.375 percent by the end of 2017.
Meanwhile, they maintained its 2018 projection, saying it sees the benchmark rate at 2.125 percent and long-term rate at 3%.
If we take a look at the Fed's fund rate targets before the recession, you can see that current rates are still low compared to historical levels.
The FOMC took the target rate to near-zero during the financial crisis and left it there until beginning a path toward a more normalized level in December 2015.
Till now, we've had only 3 rate hikes since the Fed started to taper its QE programs.
With a less-hawkish tone from the Fed, stocks rallied overnight, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing up about 110 points following the statement release.
The U.S. dollar index extended losses to trade more than 1 percent lower at levels, while gold prices bounced back.
[Karin Kimbrough, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management] "Fed is not going to kind of precipitate any type of a recession. THEY'RE NOT GOING TO GO TOO FAST. BUT THEY'RE STARTING TO GET their groove. They're going to start raising. They've told us they're going to do what the market was pretty much expecting."
[Bill Gross, Janus Capital] "Today's statement was a little less hawkish than some had feared and so we're seeing rAllies in stocks and bonds."
Moves of other central banks are also in focus today.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority said this morning that it would raise the base rate by 25 basis points to 1.25 per cent, following the Fed's overnight move.
Meanwhile, Bank of England will hold its monetary meeting later today. That's gonna be another event that global investors are watching closely too.
CNBC's Qian Chen, reporting from Singapore.