US Fed raises interest rates by a quarter-point

The Federal Reserve building in Washington, DC, United States, October 22, 2021. — AFP

WASHINGTON: The US Federal Reserve raised its benchmark lending rate for a tenth consecutive time Wednesday, while signaling an easing in its forward guidance on signs of an economic slowdown in the United States.

The central bank had embarked on an aggressive campaign of rate hikes since March last year to take aim at price increases, but inflation remains stubbornly above its long-term target of 2%.

The latest quarter-point increase lifts the target lending range to between 5% and 5.25%, the Fed said in a statement, adding that tighter credit conditions for households and businesses are likely to weigh on the economy.

The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) latest decision was in line with expectations, and analysts and traders are closely eyeing any shift in the Fed’s guidance going forward.

In its statement, the Fed said it will “take into account the cumulative tightening of monetary policy” and lags with which policy impacts the economy, when making future decisions.

This marks a departure from the last rate announcement, in which policymakers said they expected “additional policy firming” could be needed to rein in inflation.

This suggests the Fed is easing its guidance, on signs that the world’s biggest economy is cooling.

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