US Fed holds interest rates steady, sees just one cut this year

AFP , Wednesday 12 Jun 2024

The US Federal Reserve left its key lending rate unchanged on Wednesday and penciled in just one rate cut this year, down from the three expected in March.

US Federal Reserve
Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference at the Federal Reserve in Washington. AP


The Fed voted unanimously to maintain its benchmark interest rate between 5.25 and 5.50 percent, and said in a statement that "modest" progress had been made toward its long-term inflation target of two percent.

The announcement suggests that central bank officials remain wary about cutting rates too soon, despite consumer inflation data published earlier Wednesday, which pointed to a slowdown in the rate of price increases in May.

The annual consumer price index (CPI) came in at 3.3 percent last month, down 0.1 percentage point from April and unchanged on a monthly basis, the Labor Department said. This was slightly below expectations.

Alongside its interest rate decision, the Fed also updated economic forecasts from the members of its rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).

Policymakers lowered their individual forecasts for the number of rate cuts they expect this year, reducing the median projection for interest rates at end-2024 to the midpoint between 4.50 and 4.75.

This means that FOMC participants only expect one 0.25 percentage point cut before year-end, two less than in the last update in March.

Fed officials also raised their inflation forecasts for 2024 and kept their growth outlook unchanged.

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