Fed Plans To Raise Rates as Soon as March To Cool Inflation
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it plans to begin raising its benchmark interest rate as soon as March, a key step in reversing its pandemic-era low-rate policies that have fueled hiring and growth but also escalated inflation.
The Fed’s actions are sure to make a wide range of borrowing — from mortgages and credit cards to auto loans and corporate credit — costlier over time. Those higher borrowing costs, in turn, could slow consumer spending and hiring. The gravest risk is that the Fed’s abandonment of low rates could trigger another recession.
With high inflation squeezing consumers and businesses and unemployment falling steadily, the Fed also said it would phase out its monthly bond purchases, which have been intended to lower longer-term rates, in March.