The U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates by a quarter point on Wednesday and signaled a faster pace of increases in 2017 as the Trump administration takes over with promises to boost growth through tax cuts, spending and deregulation.
The rate increase, regarded as a virtual certainty by financial markets in the wake of a string of generally strong economic reports, raised the target federal funds rate 25 basis points to between 0.50 percent and 0.75 percent.
“In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the committee decided to raise the target range,” the central bank’s policy-setting committee said in its unanimous statement after a two-day meeting.
“Job gains have been solid in recent months and the unemployment rate has declined,” the Fed said, noting that market-based measures of inflation compensation had moved up “considerably.”
The rate increase was the first since last December and only the second since the 2007-2009 financial crisis, when the Fed cut rates to near zero and deployed other tools such as massive bond purchases to stabilize the economy.