Members of the Federal Open Market Committee met market expectations Wednesday by agreeing to keep the current 0.25% to 0.5% target range for the federal funds rate.
In a brief statement released at the end of the two-day meeting, committee members said their accommodative stance of monetary policy would support further improvement in labor market conditions and a return to 2% inflation. While noting that “near-term risks to the economic outlook have diminished,” committee members said they will continue to closely monitor inflation indicators and global economic and financial developments, and reiterated the likelihood of “only gradual” increases in the future.
One member, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Esther George, dissented from the decision, with the statement noting she preferred to raise rates to between 0.5% and 0.75% at this meeting.
“The balance has shifted to external factors,” said Ed Al-Hussainy, senior interest rate and currency analyst at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, who sees FOMC members letting the markets take the lead. “The market has repriced somewhat the front end of the curve. That’s what is going to be driving the curve for the rest of the year.”
“In my mind, the market has opened up a window for them to raise rates later this year … but they are running out of time,” said Mr. Al-Hussainy.