Federal Reserve Approves 10th Rate Hike in a Year, Suggests Tightening Cycle May Be Nearing Completion
The Federal Reserve has unanimously approved its 10th interest rate increase in just over a year, raising the fed funds rate to a target range of 5%-5.25%. The central bank also offered a subtle indication that the current tightening cycle could be nearing its end. This move comes as the Fed concludes its most forceful rate-hiking campaign in four decades, with officials signaling that a pause in rate increases may be on the horizon if inflation continues to recede as projected.
Following a two-day meeting, the post-meeting statement removed a sentence present in the previous statement, which said that “the Committee anticipates that some additional policy firming may be appropriate” for the Fed to achieve its 2% inflation goal. The new statement emphasizes that the policymaking committee “will closely monitor incoming information and assess the implications for monetary policy.”
When determining whether additional rate hikes are necessary to bring inflation down to 2%, the Fed will consider factors such as the impact of its previous rate increases, the time it takes for these changes to affect the economy and inflation, and other “economic and financial developments.” Although the central bank stopped short of stating outright that current rates are likely adequate for reaching its inflation target, as some economists had predicted, this revised guidance suggests a stronger inclination toward a pause in rate increases.
Should inflation and labor market conditions demonstrate sufficient improvement by the Fed’s mid-June meeting, as many experts anticipate, officials are likely to suspend further rate hikes.