US Federal Reserve raises interest rates to 14-year high

The US Federal Reserveon Wednesday announced a fourth consecutive three-quarter point interest rate increase.

It takes the benchmark lending rate to a range of 3.75% to 4%, the highest since January 2008.

In a statement after its two-day policy meeting, the US central bank vowed to keep raising interest rates “sufficiently restrictive to return inflation to 2% over time.”

It however said it will consider the impact on the economy when deciding.

“We will take into account the cumulative tightening of monetary policy, the lags with which monetary policy affects economic activity and inflation, and economic and financial developments.”

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said when it comes to moving to smaller rate rises from the 75 basis point moves that have defined recent rate hikes, “that time is coming and it may come as soon as the December meeting.”

He added “no decision has been made” yet on what action to take at next month’s gathering.

Battle to contain worst inflation in decades

The Fed has now raised rates at its last six meetings the most aggressive pace of monetary policy tightening since the 1980s.

Inflation rose 8.2% in September from 12 months earlier, just below the highest rate in 40 years.

Wednesday’s rate increase coincided with growing concerns among some economists the Fed may tighten credit so much it will pull the economy into recession.

“It is very premature to be thinking about pausing” Powell said, adding there was “a ways to go.”

The Fed said the economy appeared to be growing modestly, with still “robust” job gains and low unemployment.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Fed’s decision would help to bring down inflation, and a rise in mortgage rates should cool inflation in the housing market.

Rate increases outside the US

Outside the United States, many other major central banks are also rapidly raising rates to try to cool inflation levels.

Last week, the European Central Bank increased rates at the fastest pace in the Euro currency’s history to try to curb inflation that soared toa record 10.7% last month.

This as German inflation unexpectedly accelerated this month, following a trend already seen in France and Italy.

lo/es (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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