The United States Federal Reserve (Fed) raised the federal funds rate target on Wednesday to a range of 2.25 to 2.5 percent, the fourth time the rate has been raised this year.
The Fed's statement said that data since November showed that the U.S. economic activity has steadily expanded, the job market continues to be strong, and inflation has remained around the Fed's target of two percent. The data also showed that the U.S. household consumption growth is strong, but the growth rate of corporate fixed asset investment has slowed down compared with previous periods of the year.
The economic projection released by the Fed on the same day shows that the U.S. economy is expected to grow by three percent in 2018, slightly lower than the 3.1 percent prediction in September. The U.S. economy is expected to grow by 2.3 percent in 2019, slightly lower than the 2.5-percent prediction in September.
The Fed expects that with the further gradual adjustment of monetary policy, the medium-term prospects of the U.S. economy will continue to be optimistic. In addition, Fed officials said that interest rates are expected to raise twice in 2019, less than the thrice predicted in September.
Before the announcement, the U.S. market generally expected the Fed to raise interest rates again, while U.S. President Donald Trump believed that continuing to raise interest rate would affect economic growth. In this regard, the Fed's Chairman Jerome Powell said at a press conference on Wednesday that the decision to raise interest rates is based entirely on the current economic situation, and that the Fed's decision will not be interfered by political factors.