Fed to consider rate hike at next meeting

Fed to consider rate hike at next meeting
© Francis Rivera

The Federal Reserve is still not ready to raise interest rates, but is remaining open to increasing them before 2015 draws to a close.

The central bank announced Wednesday that it was keeping interest rates near zero yet again, citing moderate economic growth and job gains that could still benefit from lower rates.

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However, the Fed kept the door open for a rate hike in its final meeting of 2015 in December. In its statement, the Fed said it would assess economic progress “in determining whether it will be appropriate to raise the target range at its next meeting.”

The slight tweaks to the Fed’s October statement suggest that concerns about economic threats from across the globe have waned somewhat, but so too have the Fed’s expectations for the U.S. economy.

The Fed scrapped a line from its September policy update, which said that recent global activity “may restrain economic activity.” But it also updated its language for the U.S. economy, noting that job gains had slowed while the unemployment rate has held steady at 5.1 percent.

Fed officials, including Chairwoman Janet Yellen, had indicated earlier this year that the central bank would like to increase rates for the first time in nearly a decade sometime before the end of the year. But market turmoil in recent months, coupled with continued questions about economic strength both at home and abroad, has driven questions about whether the Fed will be in a position to act before the year is out.

Stocks took a sharp turn downward immediately after the Fed released its latest statement, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipping into negative territory.