Financial Markets Research Brief
Fed Resumes Rate Increases, Citing
Core Inflation and Job Market Strength
Hiatus short-lived as Fed re-commences rate hikes. On July 26, the Federal Open Market Committee announced the first fed funds rate increase in nearly three months, raising the metric by 25 basis points to a lower bound of 5.25 percent. This follows a pause in June during which the target rate remained flat, as the FOMC chose to observe the impact of previous rate hikes in order to calibrate policy moving forward. The Fed called attention to the resiliency of labor markets during this span, with the U.S. adding a robust 209,000 jobs during the month of June as unemployment remained tight at 3.6 percent. The Fed acknowledged that while wage growth was not initially a major contributory factor to this inflationary cycle, some labor market softening would be necessary to bring annual price increases to 2.0 percent. Tight conditions also allow the FOMC maneuverability in regards to further rate increases; though if adopted, hikes are likely to proceed at a tempered pace.