Expectations are high for the US Federal Reserve to deliver the year's second interest rate cut this evening as members conclude a hotly-anticipated policy meeting. 

With the meeting underway, the Fed yesterday moved for the first time in a decade to prevent market fluctuations from pushing short-term interest rates beyond the Fed's control.

US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has sent strong signals in recent weeks that a rate cut is coming.

He has vowed that policymakers stand ready to "act as appropriate" amid "significant risks" to the economy - notably President Donald Trump's trade wars.

Meanwhile, the New York Fed yesterday announced emergency measures to pump billions into the banking system through arrangements known as repurchase agreements in order to bring down short-term lending rates. 

Meanwhile, the weekend's attacks on Saudi oil installations caused crude prices to skyrocket on Monday, raising fears of worsened instability in the Middle East and a sustained increase in prices. 

Oil prices cooled somewhat today. 

The Fed cut the key policy rate in July for the first time in more than a decade, after four rate hikes last year, putting the range at 2-2.25%. 

But economic data in recent weeks has complicated the picture, showing firming inflation along with rising wages and consumer spending, prompting some to say fears for the world's largest economy may be overdone. 

The Fed also said this week that US manufacturing, which had been hit hard by Trump's trade wars, had recovered somewhat in August, driving US industrial output up more than economists had expected. 

Oxford Economics estimates the Fed will cut three more times this year, leaving the Fed's benchmark lending rate a full percentage point lower at the end of the year, erasing all of the 2018 rate hikes.