The U.S. Federal Reserve decided Wednesday to hold key interest rates steady, citing a volatile domestic stock market and an uncertain global economic climate — but said further hikes are expected before 2016 is out.
The Federal Open Market Committee decided to leave the American central bank’s benchmark interest rate in a range of between a quarter and a half percent at the conclusion of its two-day March meeting on Wednesday.
“Our decision to keep this accommodative policy stance reflects both our assessment of the economic outlook and the risks associated with that outlook. The committee’s baseline expectations for economic activity, the labor market and inflation have not changed much since December,” Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
An updated outlook for 2016 includes two small interest rate hikes, down from a forecast of four at the Fed’s December meeting, when the central bank raised rates for the first time in nine years. A committee report a month later did not include an economic assessment, but Wednesday’s did — and said the domestic climate is growing at a “moderate” pace.