BoE becomes first major central bank to raise rates since pandemic… In policy shift, Fed projects three hikes in ’22…

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* BoE votes 8-1 to raise UK interest rates to 0.25% from 0.1%

* BoE is first major to raise rates since pandemic began

* UK inflation is forecast to peak at 6% in April 2022

* Omicron to hurt near-term growth, inflation impact unclear

* More persistent domestic inflation and job market pressures seen (Adds Bailey comments, details)

With inflation now running at its fastest pace in nearly 40 years and showing no signs of slowing down, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday abandoned its wait-and-see strategy and indicated that it could begin stepping on the economic brakes soon.

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Specifically, the central bank signaled it could start raising interest rates as early as next spring as it announced a speedier shutdown of a bond-buying stimulus program that it implemented to counteract the economic damage from the COVID-19 pandemic. Most Fed officials now see at least three rate hikes in 2022.

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