The Federal Open Market Committee has raised its target for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points, to 2.5%, and has indicated that rate hikes are likely to continue in the future."Even after this action, the stance of monetary policy remains accommodative," the FOMC said. (The committee is the monetary policy-making organ of the Federal Reserve Board.) "Nothing in the Fed outlook has changed," said Steve Stanley, chief economist at RBS Greenwich Capital Markets. "As long as economic growth is robust and inflation is contained, the Fed will tighten by 25 bps at each meeting, at least until they get close to neutrality." Mr. Stanley said he based his interpretation of the Fed's statement on the fact that it "was a verbatim repeat of December 14, except for one word -- 'earlier.' The 'earlier rise in energy prices' became 'the rise in energy prices.' Otherwise, the statement was exactly the same as last time."

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