The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) held its short-term policy interest rate steady at a range of 5.25% to 5.5% for a fifth straight meeting on Wednesday.

“The Committee does not expect it will be appropriate to reduce the target range until it has gained greater confidence that inflation is moving sustainably toward 2%,” according to the FOMC statement. “In addition, the Committee will continue reducing its holdings of Treasury securities and agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities, as described in its previously announced plans.”

Earlier in March, Fed Chair Jerome Powell emphasized during his semiannual monetary policy testimony that the central bank needed “just a bit more evidence” that inflation was on the right path before implementing its first rate cut since March 2020.

During Wednesday’s press conference, investors will focus on whether officials still project three cuts this year, or only two, as policymakers unveil their latest interest rate and economic projections for the first time since December. Since then, inflation in both January and February came in higher than expected, and remains above the Fed’s stated target of 2% annualized growth.

In December, most officials agreed that inflation would fall from just above 3% at the end of 2023 to just below 2.5% at the end of 2024. Most penciled out three quarter-point rate cuts this year.

Investors will also hunt for clues over whether a June rate cut is still a reasonable best-case scenario. As of Wednesday, investors are placing the probability of a cut by June at 63.9%, according to the CME Group.

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