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When Will the Rate Hikes End?

When Will the Rate Hikes End?

Federal Reserve officials raised interest rates today to their highest level in 22 years, pressing on with a campaign to bring inflation down by cooling the American economy. The hike was widely expected.

The real question now is: What comes next?

Inflation has dropped significantly since its peak last summer, the labor market has remained unexpectedly resilient and the broader economy has so far avoided the kind of rapid slowdown that some had feared. Still, some economists are worried that the Fed could cause a recession and question whether it is time to stop raising borrowing rates.

But at a news conference this afternoon, Fed chair Jerome Powell remained entirely noncommittal about another rate hike, saying that policymakers were open to more increases, including in September. He also said they were open to a pause.

“Powell tried to make it very clear that he did not want to let us know what they’re leaning toward,” my colleague Jeanna Smialek, our in-house Fed expert, told me. “But at least at the moment, the Fed is feeling better about inflation.”

Fed officials, who have emphasized that inflation is still too high for their comfort, have recently become slightly more optimistic about the outlook. They upgraded their assessment of growth from “modest” to “moderate,” and Powell said that the Fed’s economists no longer expect a recession later this year — which surprised Jeanna.

“It means that the economists who advise the Fed think that they may be able to pull off this sort of magical soft landing scenario,” Jeanna said.

“This is the big test,” one senior American official said.

Thousands of reinforcements are pouring into the battle, after nearly two months of halting fighting, as Ukraine tries to break Russia’s grip on the south. Ukraine seems to be bringing in troops who were, until now, held in reserve. Many were trained and equipped by the West, a Russian-appointed official said. The official tallied about 100 armored vehicles, including German-made Leopards and U.S.-made Bradleys.

Hunter Biden, the president’s son and the target of long-running Republican efforts to cast the first family as corrupt, appeared in court in Delaware today to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges and accept a deal that would allow him to avoid prosecution on a gun charge. But that agreement hit an unexpected last-minute snag.

The federal judge overseeing the case, Maryellen Noreika, decided to delay her approval of the deal. Judge Noreika, a Trump nominee, asked that both sides agree to insert language in the agreement limiting the scope of immunity it would grant Biden. His lawyers estimated it would take two weeks to hammer out the changes she requested.

Israel’s Supreme Court announced today that it would review a contentious new law that diminishes the court’s own role, setting the stage for a constitutional crisis. However, it did not issue an injunction barring the law from going into effect, as some critics had hoped.

The court will hear arguments in September. At that point, it must decide whether to reassert its dominance over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, or accept the move to reduce its own power.

The Irish singer-songwriter, who died at age 56, was best known for her strong, evocative voice. She broke out with her 1990 rendition of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” and then caused an uproar two years later by ripping up a photo of Pope John Paul II on “Saturday Night Live.”

O’Connor released 10 studio albums, reaching superstardom with the 1990 album “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got.” She rarely shrank from controversy, was outspoken about her political and social views, and, later in her career, was open about her struggles with mental health. “I’m not a pop star,” she wrote in her memoir, “I’m just a troubled soul who needs to scream into mikes now and then.”

Traveling can be exciting, fulfilling and even life-changing. But planning travel is often stressful, confusing and overwhelming. What should you pack? Is it worth finding a travel partner? How can you save a trip threatened by a cancellation?

Luckily, my colleagues have done the work so you don’t have to. In the new Travel 101 series, we will collect all of the best travel tips and expert advice. One of the first installments tells you how to travel with friends without destroying your friendship. One tip: Be conscious of your friends’ relationship to each other, not just to you.

This month, my colleague Nikita Richardson drove to Staten Island to pick up a hot dog from Skippy’s, a family-owned truck that has been serving chili- and onion-topped dogs for decades. It was exactly what she was craving, but her trip proved unsuccessful.

That’s because Skippy’s — and its operator, Dawn LaVigne — can be challenging to track down. LaVigne doesn’t work when it’s raining or too hot, and she relies on word of mouth alone to spread awareness about when and where exactly the truck is open for business. Luckily, Nikita knew someone who could track down the truck, and she finally secured a delicious Skippy’s hot dog after a week of searching.

Have a dogged evening.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Matthew

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