Federal Reserve keeps interest rates unchanged, calls economic activity 'strong'

Markets Reporter
Yahoo Finance

The Federal Reserve has kept its benchmark interest rate target unchanged amid what it calls a “strong” period for economic growth and job creation.

On Wednesday, the Fed kept its benchmark target range at 1.75%-2% in its latest policy statement, in-line with expectations from investors ahead of the announcement.

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in June indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising at a strong rate,” the statement said. 

Job gains have been strong, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has stayed low. Household spending and business fixed investment have grown strongly.”

No mentions of tariffs or other specific risks to the economic outlook were mentioned.

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks at his news conference after the two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) on interest rate policy in Washington, U.S., June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks at his news conference after the two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) on interest rate policy in Washington, U.S., June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Following this announcement stocks in the U.S. were little-changed from before the statement, still trading mixed with only the tech-heavy Nasdaq sitting in positive territory while the Dow and S&P 500 were lower.

Treasury yields remained higher with the 10-year trading at the 2.98% level it’s been near for most of the session. The two-year Treasury yield was still at 2.67% after the announcement.

Wednesday’s statement was largely expected to come and go without any fanfare, as Fed chair Jay Powell will not be holding a press conference following this decision. Beginning next year Powell will speak to the media after each of the Fed’s eight policy meetings.

Markets still expect the Fed to raise interest rates in September and again in December, bringing the total number of rate hikes this year to four and likely raising the Fed’s benchmark interest rate target range to a corridor of 2.25%-2.5%. The Fed said Wednesday that the, “stance of monetary policy remains accommodative.” 

The Fed’s latest policy statement was the central bank’s first since President Donald Trump voiced his displeasure with Fed policy, saying in an interview that he isn’t happy with the Fed’s recent decisions to raise interest rates while also airing his frustrations on Twitter.

Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland

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