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US Fed Keeps Benchmark Rate Unchanged, Signals Cool Down in Hike Cycle

The Fed held its key interest rate steady for the third straight time.

The United States Federal Reserve held its key interest rate steady for the third straight time. The Federal Open Market Committee voted unanimously to keep the benchmark overnight borrowing rate in a targeted range between 5.25%-5.5%, thanks to the easing inflation rate and the economy holding in. 

The Fed also gave clear signals of no further interest-rate hikes in their projections for the first time since March 2021. Further, the policymakers forecasted a series of cuts to come in 2024, assuming quarter percentage point increments. 

After spiking to a 40-year high in mid-2022, Chair Jerome Powell said during a news conference that inflation has eased without a significant increase in unemployment, although it remains elevated. Fed officials see core inflation falling to 3.2% in 2023 and 2.4% in 2024, then 2.2% in 2025. 

Projections for the unemployment rate and GDP in 2023 also remain largely unchanged at 4.1% and 1.4%, respectively.  

The committee has stressed their willingness to hike rates again if inflation flares up. The officials noted that the data and development would be monitored, and several other factors would be considered to see if “any” policy tightening is required. 

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