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Fed leaves rates unchanged as it eyes potential 'soft landing'

Officials at the Federal Reserve appear optimistic they can continue to curb inflation without plunging the economy into a recession.
Fed poised to leave interest rates unchanged; tracking 'soft landing'
Posted at 6:59 AM, Sep 20, 2023

After raising interest rates more than a dozen times over the past year and a half, officials with the U.S. Federal Reserve decided Wednesday to hold off on yet another rate hike.

Over the past 18 months, interest rates have seen their sharpest increase in 40 years, making it more difficult for businesses and consumers to borrow money. While recent economic reports show that inflation is still much higher than the Fed would like, officials at the nation's bank appear optimistic they can curb inflation without plunging the economy into a recession.

"That was a hell of a good week of data we got last week," Christopher Waller, a member of the Fed's Board of Governors, said in an interview on CNBC this month. "It’s going to allow us to proceed carefully. There is nothing saying that we need to do anything imminent anytime soon.”

SEE MORE: High interest rates push home buyers and sellers to the brink

However, last week's inflation data indicates the Fed's attempt at a "soft landing" may not be so smooth.  

After a year of easing inflation, the U.S. experienced its highest inflation rate increase in over a year last month, as the prices of goods and services continue to rise at high levels. On a monthly basis, prices spiked 0.6% in August, marking the highest one-month increase since June 2022. 

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has said the bank's goal is to get the annualized inflation rate to 2%. That figure currently sits around 3.6%.


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