Federal Reserve raising benchmark interest rate by .75%, the largest increase since 1994

The US Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by 0.75 on Wednesday, June 15, which is its largest hike in nearly 30 years.

“Inflation is much too high, and we understand the hardship it is causing. We’re moving expeditiously to bring it back down,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said during a news conference, which he opened with an unusual direct address to “the American people.” He noted the burden of inflation on lower-income people, saying, “we’re strongly committed to restoring price stability.”

The move, which the Federal Reserve announced after its latest policy meeting will raise its benchmark short-term rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, to a range of 1.5% to 1.75%. With the additional rate hikes they foresee, the policymakers expect their key rate to reach a range of 3.25% to 3.5% by year’s end, the highest level since 2008, this will have implications on most forms of borrowing.

The Federal Reserve “anticipates ongoing increases” in its benchmark interest rate, he added.

“The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is causing tremendous human and economic hardship,” the Federal Reserve said in a statement on Wednesday. “The invasion and related events are creating additional upward pressure on inflation and are weighing on global economic activity. In addition, COVID-related lockdowns in China are likely to exacerbate supply chain disruptions.”

“The Committee is highly attentive to inflation risks,” the central bank added.

Markets now expect the central bank to continue raising rates aggressively in the coming months. Powell, said only that moves of 50 basis points “should be on the table at the next couple of meetings.” 

“Seventy-five basis points is not something the committee is actively considering,” Powell said, despite market pricing that had leaned heavily towards the Fed hiking by three-quarters of a percentage point in June.

“The American economy is very strong and well-positioned to handle tighter monetary policy,” he said, adding that he foresees a “soft or softish” landing for the economy despite tighter monetary policy.




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