Fed signals interest rates will stay near zero for at least three years

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Officials see rates staying ultra-low through 2023, according to the median projection of their quarterly forecasts, though four officials penciled in at least one hike in 2023.

In other updates to quarterly forecasts, Fed officials see a shallower economic contraction this year than before, but a slower recovery in the coming years.

In addition to slashing borrowing costs in March, the central bank has pumped trillions of dollars into the financial system through bond purchases and launched a slew of emergency lending facilities to keep businesses afloat. The economy has partly recovered from the steepest downturn on record and some sectors such as housing are doing well, but COVID-19 continues to kill thousands of Americans each week, unemployment remains high and industries like hospitality and travel are depressed.

Moreover, temporary extra jobless benefits are running out and the political stalemate over a new round of stimulus threatens to set back the economy. Uncertainty could hang over government policies at least until the outcome of the presidential and congressional elections is clear. Republicans including President Donald Trump — who trails challenger Joe Biden in national polls — have proposed a smaller package of aid than Democrats have.

Bloomberg.com