The Federal Reserve Thursday raised its target on the federal funds rate for the 17th-straight time, saying that while recent signs suggest the economy is cooling, readings on core inflation - those that exclude food and energy prices - have been rising.The central bank raised the federal funds rate, the interest that banks charge each other, by a quarter-point to 5.25 percent, the highest level in more than five years. When the Fed started its credit tightening campaign two years ago, the funds rate stood at a 46-year low of 1 percent.
The following is the verbatim text of the Fed's announcement:
The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to raise its target for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to 5-1/4 percent.
Recent indicators suggest that economic growth is moderating from its quite strong pace earlier this year, partly reflecting a gradual cooling of the housing market and the lagged effects of increases in interest rates and energy prices.
Readings on core inflation have been elevated in recent months. Ongoing productivity gains have held down the rise in unit labor costs, and inflation expectations remain contained. However, the high levels of resource utilization and of the prices of energy and other commodities have the potential to sustain inflation pressures.
Although the moderation in the growth of aggregate demand should help to limit inflation pressures over time, the Committee judges that some inflation risks remain. The extent and timing of any additional firming that may be needed to address these risks will depend on the evolution of the outlook for both inflation and economic growth, as implied by incoming information. In any event, the Committee will respond to changes in economic prospects as needed to support the attainment of its objectives.
Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; Timothy F. Geithner, Vice Chairman; Susan S. Bies; Jack Guynn; Donald L. Kohn; Randall S. Kroszner; Jeffrey M. Lacker; Sandra Pianalto; Kevin M. Warsh; and Janet L. Yellen.
In a related action, the Board of Governors unanimously approved a 25-basis-point increase in the discount rate to 6-1/4 percent. In taking this action, the Board approved the requests submitted by the Boards of Directors of the Federal Reserve Banks of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Dallas.