As widely predicted, the Federal Reserve issued its tenth consecutive rate hike, this time enacting a quarter-percent increase. Rates are now in the 5%-5.25% range, marking the first time since September 2007 that rates went above 5%.
The central bank’s policymaking Federal Open Market Committee cited economic activity expanding “at a modest pace” during the first quarter, with “robust” job gains and low employment but “elevated” inflation.
The Committee also addressed the new concern agitating the markets by claiming the “U.S. banking system is sound and resilient. Tighter credit conditions for households and businesses are likely to weigh on economic activity, hiring, and inflation. The extent of these effects remains uncertain. The Committee remains highly attentive to inflation risks.”
In raising the federal funds rate, the Committee said it would “continue reducing its holdings of Treasury securities and agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities” while seeking “to returning inflation to its 2% objective.” But it also warned it was “prepared to adjust the stance of monetary policy as appropriate if risks emerge that could impede the attainment of the Committee’s goals.”
The vote to increase rates received unanimous support from the Committee’s membership.