US regulators are facing calls to increase the federal funds rate to the historically low 2% level to help stabilize the financial system, with the White House saying the Federal Reserve should be “a little bit more cautious” about hiking rates.
The Fed’s policy makers are now set to raise interest rates for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis.
The central bank has been trying to slow the bleeding in the economy, with its key rate at zero since March.
But on Thursday, the Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed’s panel of nine economists, agreed to raise its benchmark interest rate to 1% and the first rise since February, a move the White, Democrat-controlled panel said would help stabilize an economy that was already “in the throes of a prolonged recession.”
The Fed said that would help the economy and that the rate increase would not be accompanied by any new “discretionary policies.”
But the Fed will still face some challenges in its goal of stabilizing the financial markets, including raising interest rates to support an already fragile housing market and a lack of clarity on how the U.S. economy will perform in the coming months.
“This is a critical moment in the recovery and a critical time for the U