Fed Holds Rates Steady But Appears Open To September Hike

By Jeffry BartashMarketsMarketWatch Pulse

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday voted 9-1 to leave U.S. interest rates unchanged, but central bankers appear more open to a September increase in light of an improved economy. In a statement, the FOMC said the "near-term risks to the economic outlook have diminished," language that implies the Fed could consider a rate hike two months from now. The Fed said the "labor market strengthened" and the economy is "expanding at a moderate pace." Kansas City Fed President Esther George, who wanted a 1/4-point increase in rates, was the lone dissenter.

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