Fed delivers small rate hike, flags possible pause in tightening cycle
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point and signaled it may pause further increases, giving officials time to assess the fallout from recent bank failures, wait on the resolution of a political standoff over the U.S. debt ceiling, and monitor the course of inflation, News.az reports citing Reuters.
The unanimous decision lifted the U.S. central bank's benchmark overnight interest rate to the 5.00%-5.25% range, the Fed's tenth consecutive increase since March 2022.
But the accompanying policy statement dropped language saying that its rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee still "anticipates that some additional policy firming may be appropriate in order to attain a stance of monetary policy that is sufficiently restrictive to return inflation to 2% over time."
In its place the Fed inserted a more qualified statement, reminiscent of language used when it halted rate hikes in 2006, which says that "in determining the extent to which additional policy firming may be appropriate," officials will study how the economy, inflation and financial markets behave in the coming weeks and months.
The new language does not guarantee the Fed will hold rates steady at its next policy meeting in June, and the statement noted that "inflation remains elevated," and job gains are still "running at a robust pace."