The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee reduced its key short-term interest rate range one-quarter percent to 1.75 to 2.00 percent during it’s September meeting. While FOMC members had mixed opinions on reducing the benchmark rate range for short term loans, the post-meeting statement suggested that reducing the federal funds rate was a hedge against inflation. The federal funds rate impacts short-term consumer loan rates for autos and adjustable rate mortgages, but does not impact fixed mortgage rates. FOMC monetary policy decisions are governed by the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate of maintaining price stability and an inflation rate of 2.00 percent.
The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve announced the first rate cut to its key interest rate range since the Great Recession ushered in a series of rate cuts described as “quantitative easing.” The Fed committee confirmed a quarter-point cut to 2.00 to 2.25 percent.
Federal Reserve policymakers held the federal funds rate at its current range of 2.25 to 2.50 percent. Analysts speculated that the Fed may lower its key rate based on signs of slowing economic growth and the President’s encouragement to lower the Fed rate.
The meeting of the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee ended Wednesday with the Committee’s customary post-meeting statement recapping monetary policy matters considered by the Committee. Members voted not to change the current target rate range of the federal funds rate. The current rate range of 2.25 percent to 2.50 percent.
Members of the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee voted to hold the target range of the federal funds rate to its current range of 2.25 to 2.50 percent. The minutes of the most recent Committee meeting cited softening domestic and global economic conditions as reason for not raising the target federal funds range.
Last week’s economic news included readings from the National Association of Home Builders, Federal Reserve Federal Open Market Committee and a press conference by Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Sales of pre-owned homes in February were reported along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.
After raising the target range for the federal funds rate in 2018, the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee did not raise the Central Bank’s key interest rate at its meeting of January 29 and 30. While Committee members did not raise the Fed’s key rate, members were divided on the interest rate decision.
During its post-meeting statement, the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve announced that its target range for the Fed’s key interest rate would increase one quarter percent to 2.25 to 2.50 percent. While this rate hike was not expected by the Executive branch, it met analyst expectations.
According to a press release by the Federal Reserve, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the current target federal funds rate will hold steady at 0.25 to 0.50 percent. Committee members cited positive developments in the U.S economy including jobs growth, stronger labor markets and gradually increasing inflation. In addition, stronger housing sector and household spending were also noted as positive signs for the economy. Committee members cited risks associated with global economic and financial developments as a concern.
Last week’s economic news included the NAHB Housing Market Index, Commerce Department releases on housing starts and building permits and minutes of the most recent meeting of the Fed’s FOMC meeting.