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Federal Reserve keeps interest rates unchanged

Myles Udland
Markets Reporter

The Federal Reserve is on hold.

On Thursday, the central bank announced it has kept the target range for its benchmark interest rate unchanged in a band of 2%-2.25%.

The Fed in September raised rates by 25 basis points to the current range, setting its benchmark interest rate at the highest level since April 2008. All nine voting members of the FOMC voted in favor of Thursday’s decision.

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

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell speaks on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, at the Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve Board Building in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The statement added that, “Risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced.” No mention of the market volatility seen in October appeared in the statement. 

The Committee expects that further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate will be consistent with sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near the Committee’s symmetric 2 percent objective over the medium term,” the Fed’s statement said. 

Thursday’s announcement from the Fed is the first since President Donald Trump’s most recent complaints about Fed policy, with the President in late October saying that he “maybe” regrets nominating Fed chair Jerome Powell for the job.

The Fed’s announcement came on a Thursday for the first time since September 2015, with Tuesday’s election pushing back the start of its two-day policy meeting by one day.

In September, the Fed removed language that said its policy was “accommodative,” indicating that Fed officials see interest rates moving closer to a “neutral” setting that would support full employment and inflation running at the Fed’s 2% target. The Fed’s own interest rate forecast last updated in September indicated that one more rate hike would likely be appropriate in 2018. The Fed will make its final policy announcement of the year on December 18.

Thursday also marked the final time for the foreseeable future that a Fed meeting will not be accompanied by a press conference with Fed chair Jay Powell — beginning January, the Fed chair will speak to reporters after all eight of the central bank’s policy statements.

Ahead of this announcement, markets were little-changed and remained so after this announcement.

Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland