Fed keeps interest rates steady, stresses “strong economy and job market”

Regulators signaled the board will likely raise interest rates next month

Photo of Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell (Credit: Federalreserve via Flickr)
Photo of Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell (Credit: Federalreserve via Flickr)

The Federal Reserve, led by Chairman Jerome Powell, decided not to raise interest rates on Wednesday, stressing that the economy and job market remain strong. Many expect the central bank to raise rates next month.

The Fed also highlighted the low unemployment rate, and noted that household spending and businesses investment have grown strongly according to the Wall Street Journal. The comments came in a statement that followed its two-day policy meeting. The Fed is expected to raise interest rates at its next meeting in September for the third time this year.

Fed officials unanimously decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate set in June, at 1.75 percent to 2 percent.

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Most Federal Reserve officials now expect at least two more interest rate increases this year — there have already been two — up from a previous projection in March of three rate increases for the year.

The U.S. central bank has upgraded its economic outlook in the past year due to a rise in global growth along with Congress’ approved tax cuts and an increase in federal spending.

Raising the benchmark federal funds rate prompts lenders to raise their rates as well, including mortgage rates, which would make home buying more expensive for consumers.

This comes at a time when the housing market is starting to cool down in some markets across the U.S., according to recent government data. [WSJ] — Keith Larsen

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