Federal Reserve raises United States interest rates again

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In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee chose to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1-3/4 to 2 percent.

They lifted the federal funds rate, which helps determine rates for mortgages, credit cards and other borrowing, to a range of 1.75% to 2%.

"Recent data suggest that growth of household spending has picked up, while business fixed investment has continued to grow strongly", the Fed wrote in its statement Wednesday announcing the interest rate hike. The Fed has indicated that it is likely to raise rates three or four more times this year.

The biggest change the Fed made Wednesday was to signal that it intends to do two more rate hikes this year, instead of just one.

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The Fed said its policy of further gradual rate increases will be "consistent with sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near the Committee's symmetric 2 percent objective".

Estimates of longer-run interest rates were unchanged and seen reaching as high as 3.4 percent in 2020 before dropping to 2.9 percent in the longer run. The move reflects the economy's resilience, the job market's strength and inflation that's finally nearing the Fed's target level.

Consumers can expect interest rates to rise for all types of debt. The Fed is raising rates gradually to keep the economy in check.

Powell faces a tricky balancing act as the Fed attempts to bring interest rates toward historical averages. The unemployment rate is seen falling to 3.6 percent in 2018, compared to the 3.8 percent forecast in March. While Japan's central bank isn't expected to make any major policy shifts, anticipation is rising that the ECB may outline as early as this week plans to begin paring its bond-buying stimulus program as a prelude to ending them altogether. Canada, the European Union and Mexico have all pledged to retaliate with tariffs on US imports, which some studies show could cost the USA close to 200,000 jobs.

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