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Federal Reserve hikes its key interest rate a quarter point

All eyes on the Fed’s interest rate decision

Fed to make interest rate decision amid banking turmoil


The Federal Reserve is raising its key interest rate 0.25 percentage point, underscoring central bankers’ commitment to fighting inflation even if that heightens the financial pressure on the the country’s banks.

The Fed’s benchmark rate is rising to a range between 4.75% and 5%, the bank’s rate-setting body said in a statement.

The sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank on March 10 and of New York’s Signature Bank two days later has spurred fear that worried depositors could rush to withdraw their money from other regional lenders, sparking a wider crisis.

In its statement, the Fed’s rate-setting committee noted that banks’ newfound caution would likely drag on the economy, writing, “Recent developments are likely to result in tighter credit conditions for households and businesses and to weigh on economic activity, hiring, and inflation. The extent of these effects is uncertain.”

“The Committee remains highly attentive to inflation risks,” the statement said, adding that the Fed was “strongly committed to returning inflation to its 2 percent objective.”

But the Fed also hinted it is prepared to pause further rate hikes depending on economic conditions, saying it “will closely monitor incoming information and assess the implications for monetary policy.”

Fed Chair Jerome Powell is set to address reporters at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time, when he will offer his outlook on the economy. 

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