VIDEO: Fed to keep interest rates near zero

By Kristen Vake

The Federal Reserve had good news for borrowers Wednesday. It decided to keep its key interest rate near zero where it’s been since the 2009 financial crisis.

“There has been a debate about the Federal Reserve postponing any action on the rates front until next year and the statement today makes it very clear that December is in play,” according to Mesirow Financial Chief International Economist Adolfo Laurenti.

For the past two years the Fed has wanted to raise interest rates as the economy has improved. They held off this time because of sputtering economies overseas and inflation that is below its target.

“We have spent weeks and months completely consumed by this debate, is the Fed hiking rates or not and this has actually created additional uncertainty which is really counterintuitive, this is not what the Federal Reserve would like to do,” Laurenti said.

Fed policy-makers have been walking a tightrope. If rates are raised too soon, it could weaken the economy by making credit less available. But if the fed waits too long to raise rates, cheap money could fuel inflation.

“My overall stance is that the Fed should have acted sooner but there were good reason not to do that,” Laurenti said.

The next fed meeting is in mid-December. Economists expect the stars to finally align for a rate hike.

Photo at top: Fed policy-makers voted to keep interest rates near zero
Wednesday (Kristen Vake/Medill)