With the economy looking bright enough, the Federal Reserve seems content to play the waiting game

If there’s one thing you can say about Fed policymakers, it’s that they don’t make decisions on a whim. When the Federal Open Market Committee met on Jan. 31, 2024, it held interest rates steady – as most observers expected. That marks six months since the Fed last changed the base rate.

And people should expect to wait a little while more: Fed Chair Jerome Powell said a rate cut was “not likely” to come at the next meeting in March. But over the course of his news conference after the meeting, he emphasized that nothing is set in stone.

And in recent months, controlling inflation has been the focus of Fed policy. In his remarks on Jan. 31, Powell made it clear that Americans shouldn’t expect the Fed to do anything to rates until the U.S. gets closer to its target of 2% inflation. And that could take some time.

There’s a reason Powell and his fellow policymakers are focused on the 2% inflation target. So long as consumer price index inflation is above 2%, the concern is that any lowering of interest rates could stimulate the economy too much and reignite inflation.

Read the full article from The Conversation

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