Fed signals rate hikes are unlikely and announces reduction in balance sheet runoff pace

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) kept rates unchanged for a sixth straight meeting, with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signaling that rate cuts are unlikely to occur soon as underlying fundamentals remain strong. FOMC members are feeling handcuffed by stubbornly high inflation, preventing them from providing the widely anticipated monetary accommodation. Powell said it will take longer than expected to return inflation to the Fed's 2% goal, thereby ruling out a rate cut in the near term.