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Fed unanimously approved its third consecutive interest rate hike at 0.75 percentage point in their September FOMC Meeting, lifting its benchmark federal funds rate to a range between 3%-3.25% – a level that was last seen in 2008. This move signals additional increases are likely to follow in the two upcoming meetings to fight inflation, which remains at a 40-year high. The majority of the Fed officials expect to lift the rate at least by another 1.25 percentage point by December, ranging between 4.25%-4.50%.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Interest Rate Hike Projections

According to the new median projection, the Fed’s policy rate would peak at a range of 4.50%-4.75%, whereas the previous median projection in June signaled that the rate would peak at around 3.75% next year. Projections now also show more uncertainty over what happens to the rates after this point. Officials are divided in their expectations: 1/3 expect the rates of stay above 4% through 2024, 1/3 see rates cut down to between 2.5%-3.5% in 2024, while the remaining 1/3 expect rates to decline to somewhere between the two. 


With the Fed’s commitment in raising rates to combat inflations, projections are pointing at higher unemployment over the next year. The median projections state that the unemployment rate (which was around 3.7% in August) could increase to 4.4% by the end of 2023. The labor market at this time has remained strong, with an average of 380,000 jobs added monthly over the past six months. 


Officials projected that inflation will rise to 5.4% by the end of this year, and up 4.5% on a core basis when excluding food and energy prices. The 4.5% expectation is 0.2% higher than their previous projections of 4.3% in June, and 0.4% higher than the March projection of 4.1%. With this being said, they also expect that inflation will fall to within the range of 2.8%-3.1% by the end of next year, and hopefully reach Fed’s long-term inflation target of 2% by 2025.

Fed Chairman, Mr. Powell, once again reaffirmed Fed’s goal to tackle inflation despite the trade off increasing unemployment rate and recession risks. “I wish there was a painless way to do that. There isn’t. What we need to do is get rates up to the point where we’re putting meaningful downward pressure on inflation. And that’s what we’re doing,” he said on Wednesday afternoon. Fed will not likely to slow down until inflation is back down to the 2% goal.

Fed Chairman Powell speaks after Fed hikes interest rates by 0.75% to fight inflation

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