The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee will hold its first meeting led by Chair Janet Yellen, who succeeded Ben S. Bernanke last month. The central bank in January reduced monthly bond purchases to $65 billion, citing labor-market indicators that “were mixed but on balance showed further improvement.”
The Fed left unchanged its statement that it will probably hold its target interest rate near zero “well past the time” that unemployment falls below 6.5%. The target rate has remained unchanged at zero to 0.25% since December 2008.
“We are focusing on the fundamental picture and the upcoming Fed meeting,” said John Stopford, head of fixed income at Investec Asset Management in London. “The market is in a wait-and-see mode as far as Russia and Crimea are concerned, as a lot of bad news appeared to have been in the price.”
President Barack Obama om March 17 imposed sanctions on seven top Russian government officials and added four others from Ukraine, including the former president, who the U.S. says threaten peace and security. The actions, which mark the broadest use of sanctions on Russia since the end of the Cold War, were made in concert with the 28-member European Union, which imposed its own set of penalties.
About 97% of the voters in the southern Ukraine region who took part backed joining Russia, preliminary results showed. The Ukrainian government, the EU and the U.S. consider the vote illegal, while Russia said it “fully met international norms.” The Kremlin has deployed about 60,000 troops along the Ukrainian border, the government in Kiev said. Dmitry Rogozin, and Yelena Mizulina.
“Today’s actions send a strong message to the Russian government that there are consequences for their actions that violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including their actions supporting the illegal referendum for Crimean separation,” the White House said in a statement.
Treasury trading volume rose to $582.4 billion on March 13, the highest in more than nine months, according to ICAP Plc, the largest inter-dealer broker of U.S. government debt. It was at $447.6 billion on March 14.