The Federal Reserve on Sept. 20 opted not to raise interest rates but maintained it would raise rates one more time later this year before easing off hikes, according to the central bank’s projections.
Seeing signs of inflation cooling off following 40-year highs, the Fed kept the key interest rate unchanged for a second time this year. The Fed kept its main policy rate at 5.25% to 5.50%, citing easing economic conditions, but also acknowledging that inflation is still higher than its target of 2%.
“Recent indicators suggest that economic activity has been expanding at a solid pace,” the central bank said in its Federal Open Market Committee statement. “Job gains have slowed in recent months but remain strong, and the unemployment rate has remained low. Inflation remains elevated. The U.S. banking system is sound and resilient. Tighter credit conditions for households and businesses are likely to weigh on economic activity, hiring, and inflation. The extent of these effects remains uncertain. The Committee remains highly attentive to inflation risks.”
In the last 18 months, the Fed had raised interest rates at a historically fast rate, increasing its main rate at 11 consecutive meetings since March last year.
In July, the central bank raised rates another quarter point to keep the trend going. The series of hikes has been the most aggressive since the 1980s.
“In assessing the appropriate stance of monetary policy, the committee will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook,” the Fed said Sept. 20. “The committee would be prepared to adjust the stance of monetary policy as appropriate if risks emerge that could impede the attainment of the committee’s goals.”
In the U.S. the annual inflation rate inched up to 3.7% in August, up from from 3.2% the month prior.