The US Federal Reserve lifted its federal funds rate target range to 1.75-2% overnight, up 25 basis points on top of a similar raise in March.
At 2%, it’s now above the NZ Reserve Bank’s official cashrate of 1.75%.
At the foot of this story, you can check the shifts in US & NZ central bank rates over the last 3 years.
The US central bank reduced its target range for the funds rate to 0-0.25% in December 2008 and held it there until December 2015. It lifted its target rate to 1.25-1.5% in December 2017.
The Fed’s open market committee said in its overnight decision that, since it met in May, information indicated that the labour market had continued to strengthen and that economic activity had been rising at a solid rate.
“Job gains have been strong, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has declined. Recent data suggest that growth of household spending has picked up, while business fixed investment has continued to grow strongly. On a 12-month basis, both overall inflation & inflation for items other than food & energy have moved close to 2%. Indicators of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed, on balance.
“Consistent with its statutory mandate, the committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The committee expects that further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate will be consistent with sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labour market conditions and inflation near the committee’s symmetric 2% objective over the medium term. Risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced.
“In view of realised & expected labour market conditions & inflation, the committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1.75-2%. The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting strong labour market conditions and a sustained return to 2% inflation.
“In determining the timing & size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the committee will assess realised & expected economic conditions relative to its maximum employment objective & its symmetric 2% inflation objective. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labour market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures & inflation expectations, and readings on financial & international developments.”
10 May 2018: Expect a 1.75% cashrate for some time, says Orr
14 December 2017: Fed lifts funds rate target
15 June 2017: Fed lifts rate again
15 December 2016: Corrected: Fed lifts rate
10 November 2016: Wheeler cuts cashrate to 1.75%
11 August 2016: Wheeler makes 25-point cut & warns of more
17 December 2015: Fed takes rate above zero
Attribution: Bank release.