Fed Keeps Rates Steady as Tame Inflation Continues By Investing.com

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Investing.com – The Federal Reserve kept interest rates on hold Wednesday, signaling that the current path of monetary policy was accommodative enough to support economic growth.

The Federal Open Market Committee left its unchanged in the range of 1.5% to 1.75%.

In July, the Fed cut interest rates for the first time since the Financial Crisis, more than a decade ago. Two further rate cuts followed the July cut.

Following the third rate cut at its October meeting, the Fed cooled expectations for further easing, insisting that monetary policy would remain on pause unless there was a material change to its outlook, particularly on inflation.

The Federal Reserve operates under a dual mandate to achieve maximum employment and ensure the pace of inflation remains contained.

While the labor market has remained tight, underpinning the strength of the consumer, the pace of inflation has continued to fall short of the Fed’s 2% target.

The most recent reading of the core PCE index, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, came in at 1.6%. The unemployment rate is at 3.5%, the lowest level in 50 years.

Traders are expected to shift attention to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference at 2:30 PM ET (19:30 GMT), for more clues on future monetary policy action.

The strong November jobs report released last week will provide “plenty of recent cover for Powell to continue to guide that the U.S. economy is in a good place,” Scotiabank said in a note.

“We’re not convinced that the easing cycle is necessarily over going forward but, at a minimum, an extended hold period lies ahead,” it added.

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