The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it will aim to keep interest rates to a target between 0.25 and 0.5 percent through March. The Fed turned heads in December by finally hiking rates off the 0-to-0.25 percent floor; the first time they had risen in nearly a decade.
Recent signals for the future of the economic recovery have been decidedly mixed, and the Fed admitted its long-term inflation target of two percent still appears to be a long way off. The statement continued the Fed's habit of assuring observers that the increase in interest rates will be slow and gradual. But it also suggested most of the Fed's decision-making members feel the forces holding down inflation, such as oil prices, are temporary.
At least one of those members said in January that four rate hikes in 2016 would be "in the ballpark." This week's was the first of eight chances the Fed will have this year to adjust the course of monetary policy, leaving seven remaining for those four possible hikes. Jeff Spross