Fed signals move to raising rates by dropping 'patient' while saying April hike unlikely

Energy Associated Press

The Federal Reserve is signaling that it's edging closer to raising interest rates from record lows in light of a strengthening job market. The Fed no longer says it will be "patient" in starting to raise its benchmark rate.

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The central bank did say a rate increase at its next meeting in April was unlikely. Most analysts believe that dropping the word "patient" makes a rate increase in June likely. The Fed says it will raise rates when it is "reasonably confident" that inflation is moving toward its 2 percent goal.

The Fed has kept its key short-term rate near zero since late 2008 to bolster the economy after a devastating financial crisis and recession. A Fed rate hike would push up consumer and business rates.