The US Federal Reserve raised interest rates by half a percentage point on Wednesday and projected at least an additional 75 basis points of increases in borrowing costs by the end of 2023 as well as a rise in unemployment and a near stalling of economic growth.
The US central bank’s projection of the target federal funds rate rising to 5.1% in 2023 is slightly higher than investors expected heading into this week’s two-day policy meeting and appeared biased if anything to move higher.
Only two of 19 Fed officials saw the benchmark overnight interest rate staying below 5% next year, a signal they still feel the need to lean into their battle against inflation that has been running at 40-year highs.
“The (Federal Open Market) Committee is highly attentive to inflation risks … Ongoing increases in the target range will be appropriate in order to attain a stance of monetary policy that is sufficiently restrictive to return inflation to 2% over time,” the Fed said in a statement nearly identical to the one it issued at its November meeting.
The new statement, approved unanimously, was released after a meeting at which officials scaled back from the three-quarters-of-a-percentage-point rate increases that were delivered at the last four gatherings. The Fed’s policy rate, which began the year at the near-zero level, is now in a target range of 4.25% to 4.50%, the highest since late 2007.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to hold a news conference at 2:30 p.m. EST (1930 GMT) to provide further details on the policy meeting, which was the last of 2022.
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