The Fed raises interest rates by a quarter percentage point

The hike will likely push lending rates up for commercial and home loans

Sep.September 26, 2018 02:49 PM

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and the Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates on Wednesday to between 2 and 2.5 percent, a move that is expected to push up the cost of borrowing for commercial and residential loans.

The 0.25 percent hike is the third so far this year, following raises in March and June. The Fed opted not to increase rates in August, which gave watchers another reason to expect one this month.

The Fed noted that inflation has remained near its 2 percent objective. It expects to gradually raise interest rates “consistent with sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions,” and inflation.

Interest rate hikes have sped up under Chairman Jerome Powell in response to a robust economy, which will help curb inflation.

The Fed also released economic projections on Wednesday. It raised its projected gross domestic product growth for this year to 3.1 percent from the 2.8 percent it projected in June. It also raised its projection for growth in 2019 to 2.5 percent from 2.4 percent. It also expects the unemployment rate to drop from a projected 3.7 percent this year to 3.5 percent next year.

President Donald Trump said he was “not thrilled” with the rising rates last month during a fundraiser at developer Howard Lorber’s Southampton mansion.

The Fed was expected to raise rates three times this year, but earlier this year signaled there will be four hikes, which means another is likely coming by the end of December.

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