The Federal Reserve on Wednesday again held benchmark interest rates steady amid a backdrop of a growing economy and labor market and inflation that is still well above the central bank’s target.
In a widely expected move, the Fed’s rate-setting group unanimously agreed to hold the key federal funds rate in a target range between 5.25%-5.5%, where it has been since July. This was the second consecutive meeting that the Federal Open Market Committee chose to hold, following a string of 11 rate hikes, including four in 2023.
The decision included an upgrade to the committee’s general assessment of the economy.
“The process of getting inflation sustainably down to 2% has a long way to go,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in remarks at a news conference. He stressed that the central bank hasn’t made any decisions yet for its December meeting, saying that “The committee will always do what it thinks is appropriate at the time.”
Powell added that the FOMC is not considering or even discussing rate reductions at this time.
He also said the risks around the Fed doing too much or too little to fight inflation have become more balanced.