Fed: On track to slow support for economy later this year | National News
The central bank’s pullback in bond purchases and its eventual rate hikes, whenever they happen, will mean that some borrowers will have to pay more for mortgages, credit cards and business loans.
Stock and bond traders took the Fed’s message Wednesday in stride. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which had been up more than 400 points before the Fed issued a policy statement, closed up 338 points, or a full 1%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was all but unchanged at roughly 1.31%.
The economy has recovered faster than many economists had expected, though growth has slowed recently as COVID-19 cases have spiked and labor and supply shortages have hampered manufacturing, construction and some other sectors. The U.S. economy has returned to its pre-pandemic size, and the unemployment rate has tumbled from 14.8%, soon after the pandemic struck, to 5.2%.
At the same time, inflation has surged as resurgent consumer spending and disrupted supply chains have combined to create shortages of semiconductors, cars, furniture and electronics. Consumer prices, according to the Fed’s preferred measure, rose 3.6% in July from a year ago — the sharpest such increase since 1991.
In its updated quarterly projections, Fed officials now expect to raise their key short term rate once in 2022, three times in 2023 — one more than they had projected in June — and three times in 2024. That benchmark rate, which influences many consumer and business loans, has been pinned near zero since March 2020, when the pandemic erupted.