Fed begins inflation fight with key rate hike, more to come

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve launched a high-risk effort to tame the worst inflation since the 1970s, raising its benchmark short-term interest rate and signaling potentially up to seven rate hikes this year.

The Fed’s quarter-point hike in its key rate, which it pinned near zero since the pandemic recession struck two years ago, marks the start of its effort to curb the high inflation that has followed the recovery from the recession. The rate hikes will eventually mean higher loan rates for many consumers and businesses.

This AP digital embed chart shows the benchmark federal funds rate since 2002, including Wednesday’s quarter-point hike. This chart is current as of March 16, 2022 and will be updated as events warrant. Sources: AP reports; Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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Americans who have long enjoyed the benefits of historically low interest rates will have to adapt to a very different environment as the Federal Reserve embarks on a period of rate hikes to fight inflation. Record-low mortgage rates below 3%, reached last year, are already gone.

Credit card interest rates and the costs of an auto loan will also likely move up.

Savers may receive somewhat better returns, depending on their bank, while returns on long-term bond investment funds will likely suffer.