Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement: Raises Interest Rates 0.50 Percent, Largest Since 2000

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Mary 4, 2022)– The Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates by 0.50%, as part of an effort to tamp down the inflationary pressures weighing on Americans.

The central bank suggested that it will further raise borrowing costs throughout this year as it attempts to undo its pandemic-era, easy money policies. The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee also detailed plans on unwinding its nearly $9 trillion balance sheet.

The decision to raise rates by 0.50% marked the most aggressive increase made in a single meeting since May 2000. Over the last two decades, the Fed has opted to raise interest rates only in increments of 0.25%, with the latest move underscoring the severity that inflation poses at the moment.

 

“The Committee is highly attentive to inflation risks,” the FOMC said in its updated policy statement.
 
Although overall economic activity edged down in the first quarter, household spending and business fixed investment remained strong. Job gains have been robust in recent months, and the unemployment rate has declined substantially. Inflation remains elevated, reflecting supply and demand imbalances related to the pandemic, higher energy prices, and broader price pressures.

 The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is causing tremendous human and economic hardship. The implications for the U.S. economy are highly uncertain. The invasion and related events are creating additional upward pressure on inflation and are likely to weigh on economic activity. In addition, COVID-related lockdowns in China are likely to exacerbate supply chain disruptions. The Committee is highly attentive to inflation risks.

The Committee seeks to achieve maximum employment and inflation at the rate of 2 percent over the longer run. With appropriate firming in the stance of monetary policy, the Committee expects inflation to return to its 2 percent objective and the labor market to remain strong. In support of these goals, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 3/4 to 1 percent and anticipates that ongoing increases in the target range will be appropriate. In addition, the Committee decided to begin reducing its holdings of Treasury securities and agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities on June 1, as described in the Plans for Reducing the Size of the Federal Reserve’s Balance Sheet that were issued in conjunction with this statement.

In assessing the appropriate stance of monetary policy, the Committee will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook. The Committee would be prepared to adjust the stance of monetary policy as appropriate if risks emerge that could impede the attainment of the Committee’s goals. The Committee’s assessments will take into account a wide range of information, including readings on public health, labor market conditions, inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and financial and international developments.

Voting for the monetary policy action were Jerome H. Powell, Chair; John C. Williams, Vice Chair; Michelle W. Bowman; Lael Brainard; James Bullard; Esther L. George; Patrick Harker; Loretta J. Mester; and Christopher J. Waller. Patrick Harker voted as an alternate member at this meeting.

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Source: Federal Reserve and Yahoo Finance contributed to the article.

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