Citing a strong labor market, increased household spending, and a lower unemployment rate, the Federal Reserve announced that it will be keeping the federal funds rate at 2.25 to 2.50 percent. Wednesday’s statement announced that The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System voted unanimously to set the interest rate paid on required and excess reserve balances at 2.35 percent.
“The Fed held rates steady today,” said realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. "Data since the last FOMC meeting has been positive, with stronger than expected readings on March jobs and first quarter GDP. The only laggard is inflation, which continues to fall below the Fed's target. While the late 1970s were characterized by stagflation — weak economic growth and stubbornly high inflation — the late 2010s are notable for the opposite — decent economic growth and stubbornly low inflation. The playbook for responding to these conditions is less-well developed, hence the need for patience.”
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) directed the Open Market Desk at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to roll over at auction the amount of principal payments from the Federal Reserve’s holdings of Treasury securities maturing during each calendar month that exceeds $15 billion. Additionally, the Desk is to continue reinvesting in agency mortgage-backed securities the amount of principal payments from the Federal Reserve’s holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities received during each calendar month that exceeds $20 billion.
According to LendingTree Chief Economist Tendayi Kapfidze, the Fed’s previous outlook may have been an overreaction resulting from December’s market volatility and the recent government shutdown.
“In our interpretation, the Fed may be overreacting to market volatility that occurred in December and distortions to economic activity and data from the government shutdown,” Kapfidze stated. “While many measures of economic growth have slowed, sentiment data which is more timely has rebounded from those declines. There are also seasonal distortions that have been occurring in the first quarter, with the economy often accelerating in the second and third quarter.”