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The Fed Wakes Up Raises its Benchmark Interest Rate by Half a Percentage Point

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Washington DC, on Wednesday  the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point, the most aggressive step yet in its fight against a 40-year high in inflation. In remarks after the Federal Open Market Committee voted to raise its key interest rate by 50-basis points for the first time since 2000, Powell rebuffed any suggestion that a mega-sized, 75-basis point increase is on the table at future meetings. The S&P 500 rose 3% following his comments, the biggest jump since May 2020.


“Inflation is much too high and we understand the hardship it is causing. We’re moving expeditiously to bring it back down,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said during a news conference, which he opened with an unusual direct address to “the American people.” He noted the burden of inflation on lower-income people, saying, “we’re strongly committed to restoring price stability.”

That likely will mean, according to the chairman’s comments, multiple 50-basis point rate hikes ahead, though likely nothing more aggressive than that.

 

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