THE FED



a man looking at the camera: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will holds a press conference later Wednesday.


© AFP/Getty Images
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will holds a press conference later Wednesday.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday said it doesn’t expect to raise rates until the end of 2023 at the earliest and it set out new economic conditions that must be met before it will raise them.

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In a statement, the Fed said it decided to keep its policy interest rate at near zero and expects this will be appropriate until two things happen: labor market conditions return to the “maximum employment” and inflation has risen to 2% and “is on track to moderately exceed 2% for some time.”

Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, said this language means investors should “get used to the low rates because they are here to stay.”

However, Seth Carpenter, economist at UBS, said the Fed guidance was “vague.”

“The guidance means they need their

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By Alexis Akwagyiram and Tom Wilson



a young man standing in front of a computer: A bitcoin user buys bitcoins with naira on Bitcoin Teller Machine in Lagos


© Reuters/SEUN SANNI
A bitcoin user buys bitcoins with naira on Bitcoin Teller Machine in Lagos

LAGOS/LONDON (Reuters) – Four months ago, Abolaji Odunjo made a fundamental change to his business selling mobile phones in a bustling street market in Lagos: He started paying his suppliers in bitcoin.

Odunjo sources handsets and accessories from China and the United Arab Emirates. His Chinese suppliers asked to be paid in the cryptocurrency, he said, for speed and convenience.

The shift has boosted his profits, as he no longer has to buy dollars using the Nigerian naira or shell out fees to money-transfer firms. It is also one example of how, in Africa, bitcoin – the original and biggest cryptocurrency – is finding the practical use that it has largely failed to elsewhere.



A bitcoin teller machine is seen in a restaurant in Lagos


© Reuters/SEUN SANNI
A bitcoin teller machine is seen in a restaurant in Lagos

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Tokyo

Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said Friday he is stepping down because a chronic health problem has resurfaced. He told reporters that it was “gut wrenching” to leave many of his goals unfinished.

Concerns about his health began this summer and grew this month when he visited a Tokyo hospital two weeks in a row for unspecified health checkups for a condition he has managed since he was a teenager. While there is some improvement, there is no guarantee that it will cure his condition and so he decided to step down after treatment Monday, he said.

“It is gut wrenching to have to leave my job before accomplishing my goals,” Mr. Abe said Friday, mentioning his failure to resolve the issue of Japanese abducted years ago by North Korea, a territorial dispute with Russia, and a revision of Japan’s war-renouncing constitution.

He said his health problem was

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When the Metropolitan Museum of Art closed in March, as the coronavirus ravaged New York, the cluster of pushcarts out front — one of the most coveted food-vending locations in the city — was left with no business.

“No museum, no customers,” said Dan Rossi, 70, a vendor who over 13 years has become known as the museum’s “hot dog king” by holding the top sidewalk-selling spot, directly in front of the Met’s main steps.

Mr. Rossi was not about to pack up. For more than five months, he kept his carts dormant at their location, along Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street in Manhattan, and visited constantly from his suburban home to make sure they were not moved.

Now, with the museum reopening to the public on Saturday, he has fired up his propane grills and resumed selling his $3 dogs and $1 bottles of water. He will again work

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The Bay of Bengal is buzzing away furiously with the latest low-pressure area (fifth in the August series) intensifying a round within 12 hours of genesis and the India Meteorological Department (IMD) putting the same under watch for further intensification as a rare monsoon depression, signalling a new peak in monsoon activity.

The IMD located the well-marked low over the North-West Bay of Bengal on Wednesday evening. It is forecast to travel westwards gradually and concentrate into a depression by Thursday, catapulting the monsoon to its most active phase yet this season. As if not enough, the IMD has put out a watch for a successor low, the sixth, to form by August 23, which BusinessLine had hinted earlier.

Clouds take position

Menacing clouds have already taken position all the way along the monsoon trough from the centre of the well-marked low in the Bay towards North-West India – across

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