The United States central bank has raised an important interest rate by one-fourth of 1 percent.
The move may have been small, but it marks the first time since late 2008 that the Federal Reserve has raised important interest rates that it controls. The federal funds rate, a rate paid by banks for short-term loans, is now one-half of 1 percent.
The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee decides monetary policy for the U.S. The committee announced the change Wednesday in a statement on economic policy. It had met for two days in Washington.
Janet Yellen, the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve System, spoke after the announcement.
The committee's decision was based on a few factors, Yellen said. Economic growth is expected to continue in the U.S. Another reason to increase interest rates, Yellen noted, was the low official rate of inflation. The central bank has said its target inflation rate is 2 percent. It says that rate would help support employment and keep prices stable. However, inflation currently is not at the target rate, but below 1 percent.
The high exchange value of the dollar has also kept inflation low, Yellen said. The strong dollar means the prices of imported products remain low.
The federal reserve chief also said the strong labor market provided another reason to raise rates. The U.S. economy is adding about 200,000 jobs each month.
Yellen described the path to higher interest rates as normalization. The central bank's interest rates are well below historical averages.
The Federal Reserve, or Fed, also released its expectation for some important economic numbers. The fed expects its federal funds rate to reach between 2 percent and 4 percent by 2018.
Yellen was asked if the Fed may have moved too soon in increasing interest rates. She answered that the central bank had weighed many risks and had made a small move.
She said, "The Fed's decision today reflects our confidence in the U.S. economy."
The central bank has kept the interest rates it controls at nearly zero to support lending and economic activity. Financial policymakers considered this necessary as the country recovered from the "Great Recession" from 2007 to 2009.
During that period, home prices dropped sharply and unemployment jumped in the worst financial crisis since the 1930s.
I'm Mario Ritter.
1.mark v. 标志
The announcement marks the end of an extraordinary period in European history...
The report notes that export and import volumes picked up in leading economies...
The price of oil should remain stable for the rest of 1992.
4.normalization n.正常化; 标准化
The visIt'signalled the normalization of relations between the two countries.
这次访问显示 两国关系已经正常化 。
He is weighing the possibility of filing criminal charges against the doctor...
6.reflect vt.反射，反照; 表达
The Los Angeles riots reflected the bitterness between the black and Korean communities in the city...
7.sharply adv.严厉地; 明确地
That ruling had drawn sharp criticism from civil rights groups.
美联储公开市场委员会决定美国的货币政策。周三，该委员会在一项经济政策声明中宣布了该变化 。此前该委员会在华盛顿召开了为期两天的会议 。
耶伦表示，该委员会的决定基于几个因素。美国经济增长预期将会继续 。加息的另一个原因是官方通胀率很低 。中央银行曾宣布其目标通胀率为2%，这一通胀率有助于支持就业，保持物价稳定 。然而，目前的通率并非达到目标水平，而是低于1% 。