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Financial News: Fed Raises Key Interest Rate, Lifts 2019 Outlook

Fed Raises Key Interest Rate, Lifts 2019 Outlook

03/21/2018 - 14:06:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - As expected, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced its first interest rate increase of 2018 at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting.

A strong labor market and strength in the broader economy compelled the Fed to raise its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point, to a range of 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent.

Perhaps more importantly, the Fed reiterated its plan to raise interest rates gradually. The central bank continues to project three rate hikes in 2018.

However, the Fed now projects three rate hikes in 2019, up from the previous projection of two.

The reason for their cautious approach to raising interest rates is stubbornly low inflation.

This was Jerome H. Powell's first policy meeting as Fed chairman. Powell, a former Fed governor, took over from Janet Yellen last month at the behest of President Donald Trump.

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