WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve's so-called dotplot shows central bankers expect a somewhat slower increase in U.S. interest rates over the next few years. Senior officials now predict the FOMC will raise rates twice in 2017 instead of three times as previously indicated. The Fed still sees three rate hikes in 2018 and another three in 2019, but the bank also trimmed its long-run target for fed funds to 2.9% from 3%. Nor does it expect to reach that level until 2020 at the earliest. The Fed on Wednesday voted 7-3 to leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a range of 0.25% to 0.5%, but signaled it expects to raise rates once this year. Fed officials also cut their estimate for 2016 GDP to 1.8% from 2%.
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