Nearly all Fed officials expect more interest rate hikes will be ‘appropriate’ this year, Powell says

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday nearly all central bank officials agree more interest rate increases will be “appropriate,” dampening Wall Street’s hopes of a Fed pause.

Key facts

  • “It will take time… for the full effects of monetary restraint to be realized, especially on inflation,” Powell said in prepared remarks released ahead of his testimony before Congress beginning at 10 a.m. ET.
  • Powell cited expectations that inflation will remain “well anchored” above the Fed’s long-held 2% target; inflation hit a two-year low of 4% last month.
  • Stock futures were down moderately immediately after the comments were released, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq each slipped about 0.3%.

The federal funds rate, which helps set the rate at which banks can lend to each other and impacts all borrowing costs from mortgages to student loans, is 5% to 5.25%. That’s five percentage points higher than it was in the two years ending March, after the Fed bumped rates at 10 consecutive meetings of its policy-setting panel. The Federal Open Markets Committee decided not to hike rates at its meeting last week, which some hoped signaled the end of the tightening cycle.


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