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Fed holds interest rates steady.


Fed holds interest rates steady The Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged yesterday and said it expected to start winding down its massive holdings of bonds "relatively soon" in a sign of confidence in the US economy. The US central bank kept its benchmark lending rate in a target range of 1.00% to 1.25% and said it was continuing the slow path of monetary tightening that has lifted rates by a percentage point since 2015. In a statement following a two-day policy meeting, the Fed's rate-setting committee indicated the economy was growing moderately and job gains had been solid. But it noted that both overall inflation and a measure of underlying price gains had declined and said it would "carefully monitor" price trends. "The committee expects to begin implementing its balance sheet normalisation programme relatively soon," the Fed said, adding that it would follow a plan outlined in June. After pushing rates nearly to zero to fight the 2007-2009 financial crisis and recession, the Fed pumped over $3tn into the economy in a bond-buying spree to further reduce rates. Its balance sheet has grown to $4.5tn. Unwinding the balance sheet will mark the end of a controversial tool that drew criticism from Republican lawmakers in Congress. QEWC reports 2.44% rise in H1 net profit to QR810.56mn Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC) has reported 2.44% year-on-year jump in net profit to QR810.56mn in the first six months of this year. The company has seen 1.32% increase in sales to QR1.54bn in the review period. Although operating profit fell 11.08% to QR625.15mn, QEWC witnessed more than 54% expansion in the share of profits of joint ventures to QR286.58mn. Its joint ventures are Qatar Power (in which QEWC has 55% equity stake), Mesaieed Power Company (40%), Ras Girtas Power Company (45%), Nebras Power (60%) and Umm Al Houl Power (60%). Its total assets were valued at QR15.07bn comprising current assets of QR4.09bn (including QR2.98bn in bank balances and cash) and non-current assets of QR10.98bn at the end of first half ended June 30, 2017. The non-current assets majorly comprised property, plant and equipment valued at QR5.92bn, investments of QR2.9bn in joint ventures and finance lease receivables of QR1.31bn. Total equity stood at QR8.35bn on a capital base of QR1.1bn and earnings-per-share of QR7.37 at the end of June 30, 2017.

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Publication:Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar)
Date:Jul 27, 2017
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