The U.S. Federal Reserve has increased interest rates by 0.75 percent, increasing the cost of debt for credit cards, auto financing and other loans. It's the third consecutive interest rate increase to fight inflation. Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, signaled that the central bank will continue raising interest rates to convince the American public that it is serious about bringing soaring price growth back to normal levels and they're committed to returning inflation to its 2 percent objective.
The U.S. Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.75 percentage point on the 21st in order to curb high inflation. This is also the third outsized rate increase in a row. This puts the benchmark federal funds rate at a range of 3 percent to 3.25 percent, the highest since 2008. The Fed signaled that it will continue to raise interest rates, and Fed Chair Jerome Powell said there is no "painless" way to lower inflation.
Jerome Powell, Federal Reserve Chairperson: “So how do we get rid of inflation? As I mentioned, it would be nice if there was a way to just wish it away. But there isn't. We have to get supply and demand back into alignment. And the way we do that is by slowing the economy. ”
The housing market was hit hardest by the rate hike, with sales slowing and house prices falling slightly.
Jerome Powell, Federal Reserve Chairperson: “There was a big imbalance between supply and demand. Housing prices were going up at an unsustainable fast level. So, the deceleration of housing prices that we're seeing should help bring sort of prices more closely in line with rents and other housing market fundamentals. ”
The Fed's post-meeting statement repeated its previous announcements such as the Fed "anticipates that ongoing increases in the target range will be appropriate," and that the Fed is "strongly committed to bring inflation down to its 2 percent goal" etc.
Kevin Mahn, Chief Investment Officer, Hennion & Walsh Asset Management: “But what I found most interesting is their updated dot plot chart, which suggests that they're going to continue to raise rates into 2023.”
The U.S. Labor Department announced last week that the Consumer Price Index rose 8.3 percent year on year in August. Overall inflation shows that Americans' living expenses, including food, housing, and medical expenses, remained high.