The Federal Reserve lowered borrowing costs Wednesday for the third time since the financial crisis as policymakers sought to insulate the longest expansion on record from growing risks.
Following a two-day policy meeting, the central bank cut its benchmark interest rate to a target range of between 1.5% and 1.75%. The quarter percentage point cut had been widely anticipated by forecasters and investors.
But the announcement, in which the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee signaled it could hold off on further adjustments, was likely to draw ire from a White House that has demanded aggressive stimulus measures.
“We feel policy is well-positioned to support the outlook,” Fed Chairman Jay Powell said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Several policymakers dissented from the decision on Wednesday, with Kansas City Fed President Esther George and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren voting to keep rates unchanged.
The FOMC has become divided in recent months over how to approach strains that have emerged against the backdrop of a still solid economy. Consumer activity and hiring have held up stronger than expected, even as the Trump administration’s trade disputes and muted inflation weigh on the outlook.
“We think any attempt by Chair Powell today to persuade his colleagues to signal an intention to keep cutting rates would be met with real resistance, and we doubt that Mr. Powell feels the need to pick that fight at this point,” said Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
The three major US stock indexes moved slightly higher as Powell spoke.
The Commerce Department estimated earlier on Friday that the economy expanded at a rate of 1.9% in the third quarter, a figure that topped expectations but was still the second-slowest pace of the Trump presidency. The October jobs report, set to be released Friday, could shed light on where the central bank is headed next.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates. Now read: The US economy slowed less than expected in the 3rd quarter amid strong consumer spending