Fed keeps interest rates untouched

The U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) announced Wednesday that it has decided to keep the interest rates unchanged for the fourth time.

The Fed said it has decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 5.25 to 5.50% in support of its dual goals of maximum employment and inflation at the rate of 2% over the longer run.

The decision to leave rates unchanged came as the Fed acknowledged inflation has eased over the past year but said it remains elevated. The central bank also described economic growth as solid while noting job gains have moderated since early last year but remain strong.

The Fed’s statement notably removed the reference to “any additional policy firming that may be appropriate.”

However, the Fed also said it does not expect it will be appropriate to lower rates until it has gained greater confidence that inflation is moving sustainably toward 2%.

In considering any adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the central bank said it will carefully assess incoming data, the evolving outlook, and the balance of risks.

The next monetary policy meeting its scheduled for March 19-20, with CME Group’s FedWatch Tool currently indicating a 52.8% chance the Fed will leave rates unchanged and a 45.8% chance of a 25 basis point rate cut.