WASHINGTON (9/17/15, UPDATED 2:30 p.m. ET)--The Federal Reserve opted not to raise interest rates during the board’s September policy-setting meeting, which wrapped up today.
While analysts long had expected the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Fed’s monetary policy-setting body, to nudge interest rates higher for the first time since the financial crisis this month, the economy apparently lost enough steam in recent weeks to stay the body’s hand.
In its policy statement, the Fed said that inflation has not yet climbed from recent low levels. However, the FOMC said it expects inflation to rise gradually toward 2% over the medium term as the labor market continues to strengthen and the “transitory effects of declines in energy and import prices” fade.
“The Fed continues to do a balancing act,” said Perc Pineda, CUNA senior economist. “The U.S. economy is not in a recession, and definitely not overheating. The former calls for lower interest rates and the latter calls for higher interest rates. Currently, the chances of a recession or overheating are both slim. Hence, doing nothing is the most logical thing to do.”
While the Fed said that both the labor and housing markets continue to improve, turbulent economic conditions abroad have given the committee cause for concern.
“The committee continues to see the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labor market as nearly balanced, but is monitoring developments abroad,” the FOMC said.
Still, with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s comments from earlier this year--that the Fed expects to raise interest rates at least twice before the calendar turns to 2016--likely echoing in analysts’ ears, all eyes now turn to the Fed’s next two-day meeting Oct. 27-28.