The US Federal Reserve raised the benchmark lending rate on Wednesday, the second increase of the year, and signaled it will be more aggressive about rate increases this year and next amid “strong” economic growth. The unanimous vote brings the federal funds rate to a range of 1.75 to 2%, but the quarterly economic forecasts show central bankers now expect the rate to end the year at 2.4% rather than the 2.1% projected in March.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke in September will trim the Fed’s monthly bond buying to 65 billion from the current pace of 85 billion dollars, according to a growing number of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
The Federal Reserve is likely to deliver another round of monetary stimulus “fairly soon” unless the economy improves considerably, minutes from the US central bank's August meeting show.
Three members of the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted against the Fed's latest stimulus measures at its meeting last month, minutes have revealed.
With three dissenting members the Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday further efforts to prop the US economy launching an accommodation program to put more downward pressure on long-term interest rates and increase its support for housing.
The US economy continues to grow slowly, with patches of weaker activity, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in a report used by the central bank in setting monetary policy.
US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the “frustratingly slow” US recovery warrants sustained monetary stimulus while predicting that growth will gain speed in the second half of the year.
The Federal Reserve said on Wednesday it will maintain the current rates and is in no rush to scale back its extensive support for the US economy while estimating that the increase in commodity prices (and inflation) is transitory.
Arguing that the US economic recovery is on a firmer footing, and overall conditions in the labour market appear to be improving gradually, the Federal Reserve on Tuesday left interest rates unchanged at a record low of zero to 0.25% since December 2008.