FED Meeting January 2024: Unchanged Rates

Jacqueline Nieder

2 min

fed meeting january 2024

For the fourth consecutive meeting, the Federal Reserve keeps interest rates unchanged. Powell is sceptical about March cuts.

In a move anticipated by the market, during the FED’s meeting on January 30-31, 2024, it was decided to maintain the federal funds rate between 5.25% and 5.5%. This decision marks a continuation of the stance adopted since July 2023, reflecting the committee’s strategy in the face of good but not solidified economic indicators. “We don’t have a growth mandate. We have a mandate of maximum employment and a price stability mandate,” commented Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell following the meeting.

Since the strong inflationary wave in 2022, which reached its highest peak in forty years, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has undertaken a strict policy to rebalance the economy. This led to a series of interest rate hikes aimed at containing inflation, starting in March 2022. Indeed, since then, it has shown signs of slowing down. However, such high interest levels had not been recorded for over two decades, increasing market pressure for the Fed to intervene with a cut in the coming months.

During the January 2024 FED meeting, the Committee emphasised its intention to maintain a high vigilance. Balancing economic factors remains a delicate and non-guaranteed task: reducing interest rates could jeopardise the downward trend of inflation. On the other hand, the U.S. economy risks falling into a recession. “Inflation is still too high, ongoing progress in reducing it is not guaranteed, and the path forward is uncertain,” said Jerome Powell in his post-meeting press conference.

Despite such statements, traders continue to bet on a rate cut that would bring them between 3.75% and 4% by the end of the year. This would mean that the FED should start consistently cutting rates with increments of a quarter of a percentage point at each meeting starting in May. For those still anticipating a cut in March, Powell emphasised, “I don’t think it’s likely that the Committee will reach a level of confidence by the March meeting.”

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