The Federal Open Market Committee today announced it would raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 3.75 to 4% – the sixth rate increase this year and the fourth time the Fed has raised the rate by 75 basis points. FOMC also reiterated that it believes ongoing increases will be necessary to help return inflation closer to its 2% target.
The FOMC statement said that the committee will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and be prepared to adjust the stance of monetary policy as appropriate. During a press conference, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the question of when to moderate the pace of rate increases is now less important than the question of how high to raise rates and how long to keep monetary policy restrictive, “which really will be our principal focus.” The FOMC will meet again in December.
“At some point… it will become appropriate to slow the pace of increases as we approach the level of interest rates that will be sufficiently restrictive to bring inflation down to our 2% goal,” Powell said. “There is significant uncertainty around that level of interest rates. Even so, we still have some ways to go and incoming data since our last meeting [in September]suggests that the ultimate level of interest rates will be higher than previously expected. Our decisions will depend on the totality of incoming data and their implications for the outlook for economic activity and inflation.”