A police officer keeps watch in front of the U.S. Federal Reserve building in Washington, DC, U.S. on October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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The U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates Wednesday for the second time in three months, a move spurred by steady economic growth, strong job gains and confidence that inflation is rising to the central bank's target. The decision to lift the target overnight interest rate by 25 basis points to a range of 0.75 percent to 1 percent marked one of the Fed's most convincing steps yet in the effort to return monetary policy to a more normal footing.Further rate increases would only be "gradual," the Fed said in its policy statement, with officials sticking to their outlook for two more rate hikes this year and three more in 2018 . The Fed lifted rates once in 2016 .The unemployment rate Fed officials expect by the end of the year was unchanged at 4.5 percent, while core inflation was seen as slightly higher at 1.9 percent versus the previous 1.8 percent forecast.
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