Thursday, June 29, 2006
The United States Federal Reserve has announced an increase of 25 basis points (0.25%) in the federal funds rate bringing it to 5.25 percent. It also announced its approval of a 25 basis point increase in the discount rate to 6.25 percent.
The federal funds rate is the interest rate at which depository institutions such as banks lend balances they maintain at the Federal Reserve (called federal funds) to other banks overnight. The discount rate is the interest rate that an eligible bank is charged to borrow short term funds directly from the central bank through the discount window.
In its statement, the Fed said that growth is moderating from its quite strong pace earlier in the year, which it partly attributed to a cooling of the housing market and the delayed effect of increases in interest rates and energy prices. The Fed noted that inflation measures were “elevated” in recent months and that while productivity gains have held down increases in labor costs and inflation expectations “remain contained”. However, it pointed out that high levels of resource utilization and high energy and commodity prices have the potential to sustain inflation pressures.
In its outlook over its future moves, the Fed statement said “Although the moderation in the growth of aggregate demand should help to limit inflation pressures over time, the Committee judges that some inflation risks remain. The extent and timing of any additional firming that may be needed to address these risks will depend on the evolution of the outlook for both inflation and economic growth, as implied by incoming information.”