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Financial News: Fed Stands Pat, Mum On June Rate Hike

Fed Stands Pat, Mum On June Rate Hike

05/02/2018 - 14:02:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - As expected, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday kept monetary policy unchanged but signaled its intention to raise rates later this year thanks to underlying strength in the U.S. economy.

"In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the (Federal Open Market) Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate to 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 percent," the Fed's statement read.

A June rate hike remains on the table, as the Fed has projected at least two more rate hikes in 2018 following the most recent tightening in March. Also in March, the Fed raised its growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019 and projections pointed to an extra rate increase in 2019.

And yesterday it was revealed that wages and prices are now growing at 2 percent a year, according to the Fed's preferred inflation measure.

Core inflation, excluding volatile food and energy costs, jumped to 1.9% on an annual basis in March compared to 1.6% in February.

"Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in March indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising at a moderate rate," the Fed statement read.

"Job gains have been strong, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has stayed low. Recent data suggest that growth of household spending moderated from its strong fourth-quarter pace, while business fixed investment continued to grow strongly. On a 12-month basis, both overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy have moved close to 2 percent."

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