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Weekly Business News [May 4 Edition] 

The Federal Reserve noted a “lack of further progress” toward lowering inflation down to its 2% target. This decision keeps the central bank’s key rate at its highest point in over two decades, remaining steady at between 5.25% and 5.5%. In January, investors were forecasting as many as six quarter-point rate cuts in 2024, but they have since moderated those expectations. 

The yen rebounded to 154 level after the currency plunged past 160 earlier that day on Tuesday. Speculation over Japanese authorities’ intervention in the currency market fueled. Japan is cautiously moving away from its prolonged embrace of ultra-loose monetary policy, taking measured steps toward a more restrained approach.

Inflation in the euro area held steady at 2.4% in April, maintaining the same annual rate as in March. The core inflation rate, which strips out food and energy prices, decreased to 2.7%. From January to March 2024, the seasonally adjusted GDP for both the euro area and the European Union increased by 0.3% quarter-on-quarter. This marks a turnaround from the fourth quarter of 2023, when the eurozone’s economy fell by 0.1%, while the EU’s economy remained stable.

Nonfarm payrolls rose by 175,000 last month, falling short of the anticipated 240,000 increase projected by a Dow Jones consensus. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate edged up to 3.9%, contrary to expectations that it would remain at 3.8%.