Date
21 November 2018
US economic activity has been rising at a 'strong rate', says the nation's central bank. Photo: Bloomberg
US economic activity has been rising at a 'strong rate', says the nation's central bank. Photo: Bloomberg

Fed leaves rates unchanged for now; Dec hike likely

The US Federal Reserve held interest rates steady on Thursday following a policy meeting, but signaled that it remains on track to keep gradually tightening borrowing costs.

Keeping the fed funds rate in the 2.0 to 2.25 percent range, the central bank pointed to a healthy US economy that was marred only by a dip in the growth of business investment, Reuters reports.

Business investment had “moderated from its rapid pace,” the Fed said, in the only cautionary note in a policy statement that touted strong job gains and household spending, and a “strong rate” of overall economic activity.

“The labor market has continued to strengthen and … economic activity has been rising at a strong rate,” the US central bank said, leaving intact its plans to continue raising rates at a gradual pace.

The Fed has hiked rates three times this year and is widely expected to do so again in December.

The statement overall reflected little change in the Fed’s outlook for the economy since its last policy meeting in September, the report noted.

Inflation remained near its 2 percent target, unemployment fell, and risks to the economic outlook were still felt to be “roughly balanced.”

Data released in late October showed the US economy grew at a 3.5 percent annual rate in the third quarter, well above the roughly 2 percent annual growth pace the Fed and many economists regard as the underlying trend.

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RC

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