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Friday, March 17, 2017

Federal Reserve Raises Key Interest Rate, Signals 2 More Increases This Year

The Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee has voted 9-1 to increase its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point and said it aims to raise interest rates twice more by the end of the year.

The only dissenting vote came from Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve's regional bank in Minneapolis, according to the Fed's statement.

Wednesday's move brings the federal funds rate to a range of 0.75 percent to 1 percent. The increase was expected by the market and is consistent with what Fed officials had been signaling.

The Fed also said it is looking to increase rates three times next year, as inflation approaches the central bank's target annual rate of 2 percent, and the unemployment rate — now at 4.7 percent — appears stable.

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