Fed announces 50 basis point rate hike

In a significant move today, the Federal Reserve announced that it will increase the target range for the federal funds rate to 0.75 to 1%, and signaled that “ongoing increases in the target range will be appropriate.”

“Assuming that economic and financial conditions evolve in line with expectations, there is a broad sense on the committee that additional 50 basis point increases should be on the table at the next couple of meetings,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in a press conference following the announcement, though he noted that 75 basis point hikes were not currently being contemplated by the Fed. “We will make our decisions meeting by meeting, as we learn from incoming data and the evolving outlook for the economy.”

Despite a decline in first-quarter economic activity, however, Powell maintained that “underlying momentum remains strong.” He added, however, that “inflation is much too high,” and that “it is essential we bring inflation down if we are to have a sustained period of strong labor market conditions that benefit all.”