The Federal Reserve increased its federal funds rate last week by a quarter point, boosting it to the target range of .5-.75.
The federal funds rate is the United States’ most significant interest rate. When the federal funds rate increases, borrowing money becomes more expensive.
Last week’s increase was the first rate hike of 2016. As occurred in 2015, the Fed only raised rates once in 2016, and it waited until December to do so.
Analysts are projecting three rate hikes for 2017 based on Federal Reserve forecasts. However, at least three rate hikes were expected in 2016, and the Fed only delivered one.
The Fed gradually raised rates leading up to 2006 housing market crash, after which it gradually lowered them. Central bankers brought the federal funds rate to zero following the 2008 stock market crash.
Fed officials kept rates at nearly zero over the course of Barack Obama’s presidency. The quarter point hikes last December and this December have been the only adjustments to the federal funds rate since 2008.