Federal Reserve resumes rate hikes at FOMC meeting, bringing federal funds rate to 22-year high
The Federal Reserve is cautiously but unwaveringly pursuing its goal of 2% inflation, resuming rate hikes after a month-long pause.
The Federal Reserve has escalated interest rates to a range of 5.25 to 5.5%, marking the highest level since 2001. This action is part of its strategy to reduce the target inflation rate to 2%.
At the press conference following the meeting, Jerome Powell, the Chair of the Federal Reserve, reiterated familiar themes on viewing current rate hikes play out before proceeding to further hikes. “We’ve traversed significant territory, but the complete impact of our tightening measures is yet to be felt,” Powell commented.
The “dual mandate” Congress has established for the Federal Reserve guides its two primary objectives. Firstly, the Fed strives for “maximum employment,” seeking to make jobs available for everyone who wants one (this does not mean zero unemployment).
Secondly, the Fed is committed to maintaining “stable prices,” interpreted as preserving a low and steady inflation rate. The Fed does not target zero inflation, recognizing that a modest degree of inflation can spur economic activity by prompting spending and investment instead of encouraging the hoarding of money.
The Fed’s target inflation rate of 2% is considered the ideal rate to encourage spending and investment while maintaining stable, consistent growth. The decision to raise rates began in March 2022 from near zero, with a rapid increase throughout the year, then a slower adjustment in 2023, with a pause in June.