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Federal Reserve announces largest interest rate increase in 20 years

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Dan McCaleb | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – The Federal Reserve Wednesday said it was raising interest rates by 0.5 percentage points, the largest hike since 2020.

The increase, an attempt to bring skyrocketing inflation under control, comes after a 0.25 percentage point increase in March.

The Fed's benchmark interest rate now has a target rate range of 0.75 percent to 1.0 percent. Several more interest rate hikes, which drive up the costs of borrowing for everything from cars to homes, are expected this year.

This latest hike comes as inflation soared to 40-year highs last month.

The Consumer Price Index, a key indicator of inflation, increased an additional 1.2 percent in March, part of an 8.5 percent spike in the past 12 months. Rising energy prices have been the biggest contributor. The producer price index rose 1.4 percent in March and 11.2 percent in the last 12 months.

U.S. Gross Domestic Product, a key measure of the size of the economy, declined in the first three months of 2022, raising concerns about a possible recession.