The U.S. central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) convened on Wednesday and raised the federal funds rate by 50 basis points (bps). The 0.5 percentage point rise follows the four consecutive three-quarters of a point increases codified during the last few months. The FOMC’s rate hike follows the recent U.S. inflation report which indicated that consumer prices fell to 7.1%, which was lower than expectations.
Fed Raises Federal Funds Rate by 50bps, Central Bank Expects More Increases Going Forward
Following the consumer price index (CPI) report published on Tuesday, members of the U.S. Federal Reserve met on Wednesday and announced a 50bps rate hike. The December increase is smaller than the last four three-quarters of a point (75bps) rate increases.
“The committee seeks to achieve maximum employment and inflation at the rate of 2 percent over the longer run,” the FOMC said. “In support of these goals, the committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 4-1/4 to 4-1/2 percent.” The Fed is projecting an additional 75bps hike in the federal funds rate by the end of next year.
The news follows Tuesday’s CPI data that rose less than expected as metrics show the inflation rate in November was up 7.1% from a year ago. Core CPI jumped 0.2% on the month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted. “Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 7.1 percent before seasonal adjustment,” the BLS CPI report details. The FOMC report notes that the Fed will continue to monitor “incoming information for the economic outlook.”
“In addition, the committee will continue reducing its holdings of Treasury securities and agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities, as described in the Plans for Reducing the Size of the Federal Reserve’s Balance Sheet that were issued in May,” the FOMC members disclosed. “The committee is strongly committed to returning inflation to its 2 percent objective,” the FOMC added. After the rate hike and the bank signaled more increases will be enacted, equity markets and precious metal prices tumbled.
Crypto prices dropped too, and the price of bitcoin (BTC) fell beneath the $18K zone after the FOMC statement. The Fed has codified a number of rate hikes this year with one half percentage point jump and four three-quarters of a point hikes, making it a grand total of five federal funds rate increases in 2022.
At the end of November, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell hinted during a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington that easing up on the rate hikes very well could happen in December. Powell has faced political pressure in regard to the rate hikes and Tesla’s Elon Musk has warned against the aggressive hikes in recent times.
“We have more work to do,” Powell told reporters on Wednesday afternoon, and he further noted that “inflation risks are to the upside.”
What do you think about the Federal Reserve’s rate hike on Wednesday? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.