The Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve building stands in Washington, D.C., U.S. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

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The Federal Reserve hiked rates as expected, sending stocks and bond yields lower. And U.S. President Trump said he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have agreed to reopen trade talks between the two countries. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.

Fed Hikes

Federal Reserve officials raised interest rates for a third time this year and affirmed their outlook for further gradual hikes well into 2019. The quarter-point increase boosted the benchmark rate to a target range of 2 percent to 2.25 percent, reflecting an upbeat assessment of the economy identical to the last policy statement eight weeks ago, despite concerns over Trump’s escalating trade war. Updated “dot plot” forecasts made a December rate hike almost certain, as the number of FOMC officials expecting another increase by year-end grew to 12, from eight in the previous projections in June. Stocks fell and Treasuries rose. The Fed is taking off the training wheels, as some of the forward guidance that markets needed after the financial crisis is no longer constructive, according to Bloomberg Opinion.

U.S. and Japan to Negotiate on Trade

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he had reached an agreement with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe  to open trade talks between the two nations. Trump said he expected the talks will come to a “satisfactory conclusion” as he spoke to reporters at the beginning of a meeting with Abe in New York. “It can only be better for the United States” because the trade relationship couldn’t get worse, Trump added. Separately, the administration will publish the text for its bilateral trade deal with Mexico on Friday, which will likely exclude Canada but leave open the possibility for the country to join the agreement later, three people familiar with the matter said.

Crypto Secrets Revealed in Bitmain IPO Filing

One of the cryptocurrency world’s most powerful, controversial and secretive companies just opened its books for the first time. Bitmain Technologies, the virtual currency mining firm co-founded by billionaires Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan, released its first public financial statements in a Hong Kong regulatory filing on Wednesday. The disclosure, which also confirmed Bitmain’s intention to pursue an initial public offering, follows months of speculation about the company’s listing plans and its potential vulnerability to a more than $600 billion rout in digital assets since January.

China Deleveraging Going Into Reverse

Chinese non-financial corporate debt is rising again as a percentage of gross domestic product following a year and a half of deleveraging from its mid-2016 record, according to new data from the Bank for International Settlements. The ratio jumped to 164.1 percent in the first quarter of 2018 from 160.3 percent in the final three months of 2017, erasing more than half of the progress Chinese companies had made in reducing debt loads since the ratio topped out at 166.9 percent in the second quarter of 2016, the BIS data, published Sept. 23, show.

Coming Up…

Thursday is all about rate decisions in Asia. In addition to traders reacting to the Fed meeting, the RBNZ held its key rate at a record low in a decision already out, while meetings are also due for the Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan. Hong Kong trade data for August is also due. 

What we’ve been reading

This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.

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