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More US Interest Rate Hikes Needed to Win Inflation Fight, Federal Reserve Says

 Federal Reserve Building - eagle  - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.03.2023
WASHINGTON3 (Sputnik) - The United States needs more interest rate hikes if the Federal Reserve is to win the battle against the most stubborn inflation in four decades, the Federal Reserve said in a report to Congress.
"Core foreign inflation remains high and inflationary pressures are broad," the Fed said in the semi-annual report prepared for the country’s lawmakers.
Referring to its policy-making Federal Open Market Committee, the US central bank said: "The committee is strongly committed to returning inflation to its 2% objective. Ongoing increases in the target range will be appropriate in order to attain a stance of monetary policy that is sufficiently restrictive."
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The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a broader gauge of inflation, hit a 40-year high of 9.1% for the year to June. It has moderated since to an annualized growth of 6.4% in January but remains well above the Fed’s target of 2% per year.
To clamp down on runaway price growth, the Fed added 450 basis points to interest rates since March last year via eight hikes. Prior to that, rates stood at nearly zero after the global outbreak of the coronavirus in 2020.
The Fed’s first post-COVID-19 interest rate hike was a 25-basis point increase in March last year. It then moved up with a 50-basis point increase in May. After that it executed four back-to-back jumbo-sized hikes of 75 basis points from June through November. Since then, it has returned to a more modest 50-basis point increase in December and a 25-basis point hike in February.
Rate expectations for the Fed’s March 22 policy meeting, monitored by foreign exchange traders, remained largely at 25 basis points on Friday, though that could change with the increasing calls for tighter policing from the central bank’s hawks.
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Sensing public concern over the influence held by its policy-makers, the Fed said in its report to Congress that its target was to balance policy with real-world happenings.
"Officials are mindful of monetary policy rules, and don’t use them to drive policy," the Fed said.
Delving further on the matter, the Fed said it actually took longer than necessary to do its first pandemic-era tightening, keeping rates below what policy required for most of 2021 and 2022.
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