The Federal Open Market Committee wrapped up its second-to-last meeting of the year on Wednesday, opting to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1% to 1.25%.
The meeting, which started on Tuesday and ended on Wednesday, concluded just a day before President Donald Trump is slated to reveal who the next Federal Reserve chair will be.
During the FOMC’s last meeting in September, the committee also voted to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1% to 1.25%.
However, outside of the federal funds rate, at the September meeting, the FOMC announced another major economic move. The Federal Reserve announced it would begin selling off its $4.5 trillion portfolio of bonds, with quantitative un-easing officially beginning back in October.
According the FOMC’s official statement for this latest meeting, “Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. Hurricane-related disruptions and rebuilding will continue to affect economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near term, but past experience suggests that the storms are unlikely to materially alter the course of the national economy over the medium term.”
“Consequently, the Committee continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, and labor market conditions will strengthen somewhat further,” it stated.
This leaves only one more meeting in 2017 where the Fed could opt to raise the federal funds rate. And if industry forecasts are right, the Fed will announce one final hike in December of this year and four more in 2018.
And the four rate hikes in 2018 are predicted to happen regardless of who Trump nominates.
As it stands, Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s four-year term is set to expire in February 2018. Trump’s rumored to most likely name Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell as Yellen’s replacement.