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US Fed keeps interest rates unchanged at 5.25-5.5% as inflation ticks up

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-05-02 03:51
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An eagle tops the US Federal Reserve building's facade in Washington, July 31, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON -- The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday left interest rates unchanged at a 22-year high of 5.25 percent to 5.5 percent as recent consumer data indicates that inflation continued to tick up.

"Inflation has eased over the past year but remains elevated. In recent months, there has been a lack of further progress toward the Committee's 2 percent inflation objective," the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Fed's policy-setting body, said in a statement released after the Fed's two-day policy meeting.

"The economic outlook is uncertain, and the Committee remains highly attentive to inflation risks," the statement read.

Beginning in June, the Committee will slow the pace of decline of its securities holdings by reducing the monthly redemption cap on Treasury securities from 60 billion U.S. dollars to 25 billion dollars, the statement noted.

The Committee will maintain the monthly redemption cap on agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities at 35 billion dollars and will reinvest any principal payments in excess of this cap into Treasury securities, it added.

The latest announcement shows that the Federal Reserve has declared its intention to gradually decrease the amount of bonds it's currently selling off from its balance sheet, ultimately culminating in the cessation of the process known as "quantitative tightening."

The Fed's latest decision to keep rates unchanged came as the growth of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) slowed significantly in the first quarter amid stubborn inflation that shows no sign of abating.

The U.S. GDP grew 1.6 percent in the first quarter year on year, marking a sharp drop from the 3.4 percent in the fourth quarter, according to data released by the Commerce Department last week.

While growth slows down, inflation has increased. The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index grew 3.4 percent in this year's first three months, according to the report. That marks a significant uptick from the 1.8 percent rise in last year's final quarter.

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