US Federal Reserve boosts borrowing costs for the 10th time in a row, aiming to curb inflation
The US central bank has raised interest rates by 0.25 percentage points to a range of 5% to 5.25%, marking the highest level since 2007, in its continuous effort to combat inflation. This follows a series of nine increases amounting to 475 basis points since March 2022.
Following a two-day policy meeting among Federal Reserve officials, market analysts anticipate further insight on the trajectory of US rates from Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, who is scheduled to speak at 7:30 pm UK time.
This rate hike is predicted to be the last in the current series, concluding one of the swiftest tightening campaigns in the bank’s 109-year history.
Inflation remains above the Federal Reserve’s 2% target, but indicators point to a potential decline in the coming months due to tighter lending conditions and a slowing economy.
The US central bank faces pressure to halt its assertive monetary policy, as concerns grow that increased borrowing costs may lead the world’s largest economy into a recession.
The banking sector has particularly felt the impact of high rates, with three out of the four biggest US bank failures in history occurring within the past two months.
Anxiety over a possible US banking crisis resurfaced this week when shares in regional lenders dropped following JP Morgan’s rescue of struggling First Republic bank.
Recession fears are further intensified by the ongoing impasse between Republicans and Democrats concerning the debt ceiling, with President Joe Biden’s administration set to exhaust its funds by June unless the borrowing cap is raised.
A default on US government debt obligations could potentially trigger a financial crisis.
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