Fed leaves interest rates unchanged, signals two hikes this year

(From Reuters)

The Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged on Wednesday but signaled it still plans two rate increases this year, saying it expects the U.S. job market to strengthen after a recent slowdown.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet L. Yellen participates in a roundtable discussion with Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Patrick Harker and members of the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., June 6, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller/File Photo

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet L. Yellen; REUTERS/Charles Mostoller/File Photo

The U.S. central bank, however, lowered its economic growth forecasts for 2016 and 2017 and indicated it would be less aggressive in tightening monetary policy after the end of this year.

Fed policymakers gave no indication of when they might raise rates, though their projections leave the door open to an increase next month.

“The pace of improvement in the labor market has slowed,” the Fed said in a statement. It added, however, that “economic activity will expand at a moderate pace and labor market indicators will strengthen” even with gradual rate increases.

Updated projections from Fed policymakers point to annual GDP growth of only 2 percent for the foreseeable future, slightly lower than forecast at the March policy meeting. Read more



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