Fed keeps rates steady in November

Fed keeps rates steady in November
© Getty Images

The Federal Reserve on Thursday announced it would hold interest rates steady amid stable inflation and cooling business investment.

The central bank voted unanimously to keep the baseline federal funds rate at a 2-2.25 percent target range in it’s second to last meeting of 2018. Analysts and traders expected the Fed to hold off on a November rate hike after raising rates in March, June and September.

The Fed’s decision comes as the economy appears to be moving past its peak. The U.S. added a staggering 250,000 joins in October and the economy grew at strong 3.5 percent-clip in the third quarter, beating expectations. But lagging business investment, higher household debt levels and declining exports point to an impending, if minor, slowdown.

“Job gains have been strong, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has declined,” said the Fed in its’ Thursday statement. “Household spending has continued to grow strongly, while growth of business fixed investment has moderated from its rapid pace earlier in the year.”

The Fed is seeking to slowly raise interest rates to levels that would neither contract nor stimulate the economy. The central bank raised rates eight times since 2015, six times since Trump took office and three times in 2018.

Most Republicans and a sizable group of Democrats support the Fed raising rates, but President TrumpDonald John TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy MORE has blasted the bank and its chairman, Jerome Powell, for pulling stimulus from the strong economy.

Trump has repeatedly said he’s “not thrilled’ with Powell, who he appointed as chairman, and said the Fed has gone “crazy,” a characterization disputed by economists across the ideological spectrum.

Powell has brushed off Trump’s criticisms and insisted that the president would not influence the Fed’s decisions.