Fed Says Key Rate Will Stay at 23-Year High

Powell cites lack of 'further progress' on taming inflation, says rate hike is 'unlikely'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2024 1:17 PM CDT
Updated May 1, 2024 2:17 PM CDT
Fed Holds Key Rate Steady for a 6th Time in a Row
Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell arrives for a news conference at the Federal Reserve in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2024.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

This story has been updated with Powell's remarks. As widely expected, the Federal Reserve held its benchmark interest rate unchanged Wednesday for a sixth straight meeting at between 5.25% and 5.5%, the highest level since 2001. The central bank said it won't cut rates until it has "greater confidence" that inflation is consistently falling toward its stated 2% target, the AP reports.

  • At a press conference, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said "inflation has eased substantially over the past year," but there has been a lack of "further progress" in recent months, the New York Times reports. He also said it is "unlikely" that the next move will be a rate hike. The Times describes the remarks as "about as firm a no" as can be expected from Powell regarding a possible hike. Stocks were little changed after the initial announcement, but the Dow jumped more than 300 points after Powell's remarks.

  • At the start of the year, around 90% of economists predicted a rate cut at the May 1 meeting, CBS News reports. According to CME FedWatch, investors now expect just one rate cut this year.
  • "The Fed has said time and time again that inflation would be really difficult to tame, and they are more than willing to keep rates high until inflation becomes more manageable," Jacob Channel, senior economist at LendingTree, tells CBS. "I understand why people are concerned, and perhaps a little upset, that the Fed isn't champing at the bit to cut rates." But, he says, the situation could become worse if rates are cut too early and inflation soars.
(More Federal Reserve stories.)

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