US Federal Reserve leaves interest rates unchanged

Policymakers at the US Federal Reserve have decided to hold interest rates steady. They said they need "greater confidence" that inflation is cooling off before making any cuts.

The Fed made the announcement following the close of its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday.

Policymakers have attempted to bring down inflation through a series of rate hikes. They have had some success, leading investors to wonder if they would start cutting rates. This is the fourth meeting in a row that they have held rates steady.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell noted that inflation has eased over the past year but remains elevated. At a news conference following the meeting, he said, "We are encouraged by the progress. But, you know, we are not declaring victory at all at this point. We think we have a ways to go."

He and his colleagues see a risk that inflation could accelerate again, adding that they are not "rushing" and that rate cuts following the Fed's next meeting in March are not likely.

Still, indicators suggest economic activity has been expanding at a "solid pace." GDP in the fourth quarter of 2023 grew at an annualized rate of 3.3 percent. The Fed is hoping to slow growth and bring the economy in for a soft landing without tipping it into a recession.