The Federal Reserve on Tuesday ended two years of 17 consecutive increases in the federal funds rate, letting it stay put at 5.25 percent.
The Federal Open Market Committee may not be done raising interest rates to keep inflation in check, saying "some inflation risks remain." But unemployment in July rose from 4.6 percent to 4.8 percent and economic growth slowed to 2.5 percent this spring, off by nearly half from the pace of the first three months of the year.
"Economic growth has moderated from its quite strong pace earlier this year, partly reflecting a gradual cooling of the housing market and the lagged effects of increases in interest rates and energy prices," the committee said in a statement. Inflation risks remain, and "The extent and timing of any additional firming that may be needed to address these risks will depend on the evolution of the outlook for both inflation and economic growth, as implied by incoming information."
The decision to take a break from interest-rate hikes was widely expected, and long term mortgage rates had already fallen to four-month lows in anticipation of the move. The 30-year fixed-rate average sank to 6.07 percent overnight, and the 15-year rate dipped to 5.78 percent, according to figures compiled by Bankrate. Source: Inman News, August 8, 2006