Despite Trump Criticism, Fed Keeps Interest Rates On Hold

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U.S. Federal Reserve officials left benchmark rates unchanged at the target range of between 2.25% to 2.5% after wrapping up their two-day meeting on Wednesday.

Policymakers made the decision despite President Donald Trump urging them to slash the rates by 1 percentage point to help the economy “go up like a rocket”.

Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) released a statement explaining its decision to keep the rates on hold.

The FOMC said that although U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew 3.2% in the first three months of the 2019, if the central bank slashed benchmark rates “with our wonderfully low inflation, we could be setting major records”.

Policymakers also noted that “job gains have been solid” but “growth of household spending and business fixed investment have slowed.” Another key highlight from FOMC’s statement was that “repeats will be patient as it determines what future adjustments to rates might be appropriate.”

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell also commented on whether Trump’s efforts to badger the bank into cutting interest rates prevent it from providing such a clear signal.

“We are a non-political institution and that means we don’t think about short-term political considerations, we don’t discuss them and we don’t consider them in making our decisions one way or the other,” Mr. Powell said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 162.77 points, or 0.61% to close at 26,430.14 while the Nasdaq Composite closed at 8,049.64 after losing 45.75 points, or 0.57%. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 fell 22.10 points, or 0.75% to close at 2,923.73.

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