1) Fed maintained rates near zero, doubled tapering to $30 billion
On the last day of the FOMC meeting in 2021, the U.S. Federal Reserve resolved to maintain the interest rate steady at the range of 0-0.25%. The Fed will double the pace of asset tapering to $30 billion a month, then will accelerate the reduction further come 2022.
Projections released on Wednesday indicated that Fed officials see as many as three rate hikes in 2022, with two in 2023 and two more in 2024.
2) Wall Street soared as investors relaxed on Fed’s decision
Wall Street finished higher after the market relaxed from the Fed meeting as the resolution of maintaining rates, haste tapering pace and rate hikes in 2022 are in line with the market expectations. Dow Jones closed 1.08% higher, S&P 500 increased 1.63% and Nasdaq jumped 2.15%.
3) WHO warned to not take omicron lightly as a mild strain
The World Health Organization (WHO) cautioned against treating Covid-19 omicron variant as a mild strain, warning that the people infected with omicron can have the full spectrum of disease from asymptomatic infection to mild disease, all the way to severe disease to death.
The statement came after the organization on Tuesday said that the Covid-19 omicron variant is spreading faster than any previous variants and this new strain is probably present in most countries around the world.
4) U.K. daily Covid-19 cases broke a record at 78,610 on Wednesday
The U.K. reported a record number of new daily Covid-19 cases on Wednesday at 78,610, breaking the previous record of 68,053 cases reported on January 8. One senior British health chief warned there could be staggering numbers in the next few days.
During the last weekend, the British government on Sunday raised the coronavirus threat level from 3 to 4 on a 5-point scale, while warning that the highly contagious Covid-19 omicron variant is likely to replace the current strain, delta variant, as the dominant strain in the U.K.