The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank will leave interest rates unchanged for now, but also acknowledged Wednesday that consumer and business sentiment have improved since President Donald Trump was inaugurated. The vote was 10-0 to stand pat.
The US central bank kept its benchmark rate in a range of 0.5% to 0.75%, and said the outlook for the US economy remained positive. "Inflation increased in recent quarters but is still below the Committee's 2% longer-run objective", the release stated. By and large, the bank stuck closely to the language in its December statement, seeing little change in the USA economy compared to the end of 2016.
In the usual post meeting statement, the Fed said the United States economy was still on a moderate growth path notwithstanding a surge in consumer and business confidence since the election on November 8. Near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced.
The Committee expects that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, labor market conditions will strengthen somewhat further, and inflation will rise to 2 percent over the medium term.
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They said they will continue to "closely monitor inflation indicators and global economic and financial developments".
He said a rate rise at its next meeting in March depended on "strong" official jobs market data and a "clearer idea of the likely extent and timing of fiscal easing".
"Overall, the market seems relieved that there was nothing threatening in terms of the pace of hikes or shrinking the balance sheet", Tai Wong, director of commodity products trading at BMO Capital Markets in NY, said in an e-mail.
On top of the dual mandates of full employment and 2.0% inflation, the FOMC did note that future rate hike and policy decisions would consider readings on both financial and worldwide developments.