The Federal Reserve left interest rates near zero and signaled it would hold them there through at least 2023 to help the U.S. economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
The Federal Open Market Committee “expects to maintain an accommodative stance of monetary policy” until it achieves inflation averaging 2% over time and longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored at 2%, the central bank said in a statement Wednesday following a two-day policy meeting.
The statement reflects the central bank’s new long-term policy framework in which officials will allow inflation to overshoot their 2% target after periods of under-performance. That shift was announced by Powell last month at the central bank’s annual Jackson Hole policy conference.
The vote, in the FOMC’s final scheduled meeting before the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3, was 8-2. Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan dissented, preferring to retain “greater policy rate flexibility,” while Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari dissented in favor of waiting for a rate hike until “core inflation has reached 2% on a sustained basis.”
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Chair Jerome Powell will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. Washington time. Powell and other Fed officials have stressed in recent weeks that the U.S. recovery is highly dependent on the nation’s ability to better control the coronavirus, and that further fiscal stimulus is likely needed to support jobs and incomes.