The Federal Reserve voted to keep the federal funds rate at 5.25 percent Wednesday, raising expectations that the benchmark short-term interest rate will remain unchanged for the near future.
In voting not to raise the federal funds rate, members of the Federal Open Market Committee said economic growth has slowed over the course of the year, partly reflecting a cooling of the housing market. Going forward, the economy seems likely to expand at a moderate pace, members said in a press release.
Inflation pressures seem likely to moderate over time, members said, reflecting reduced impetus from energy prices, contained inflation expectations and the cumulative effects of monetary policy. The Committee said some inflation risks remain, and that the timing of any additional interest-rate increases will depend on the evolution of the outlook for both inflation and economic growth.
Jeffrey M. Lacker, president of the Richmond Federal Reserve, argued for an increase of 25 basis points in the federal funds rate. Lacker cast the lone vote against leaving the rate at 5.25 percent, where it has stood since late June after 17 consecutive increases.
The decision sent stocks to new records and trading in interest-rate futures inched up. Futures trades indicated that investors think there is only a 4 percent chance the Fed will raise rates in December, compared with 8 percent before the announcement. Investors now put the chances of an interest-rate increase in January at 10 percent, down from 16 percent, Reuters reported.