The Federal Reserve has declined to raise interest rates further, following a recent spike in July, but signaled that another rate hike could come before the end of the year.
In a Sept. 20 statement, the Federal Open Market Committee noted that recent indicators suggest continued economic expansion and a sound U.S. banking system, as well as an elevated level of inflation. The FOMC acknowledged that tighter credit considerations will have an impact on economic activity, hiring and inflation, but conceded that the ultimate impact of these measures cannot be known.
The central bank paused its rate increases, which have been fairly consistent over the past two years, in June, before resuming with a 25 basis point hike in July, taking the federal funds rate to a range of 5.25 to 5.5 percent.
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Aimed at curbing rampant inflation, the interest rate hikes have had a dampening effect on the capital markets writ large, including commercial real estate lending. However, the increases have succeeded in tamping down the rate of inflation, though not to the 2 percent targeted by the Federal Reserve.
This most recent pause was anticipated by the CRE sector, which has been adapting to the realities of a high interest rate environment with alternate funding methods.
“Previously, the Fed had seemingly signaled a commitment to being aggressive, potentially even again raising interest rates multiple times before the end of this year to continue efforts to drive down inflation,” Michele Raneri, vice president & head of U.S. research and consulting at TransUnion, said in an emailed statement. “While they still very well may follow through with that before the end of this year, this week’s announcement indicates that the Fed may believe that the best course of action, for now, is to continue monitoring the economy, and the effects of previous hikes, to determine if and when additional rate hikes are necessary.”