Suggest a Correction
INDIANAPOLIS – In a constant battle against inflation these days, the Federal Reserve is taking some additional steps to reduce the burden of rising prices.
The Fed is expected to raise interest rates on Wednesday, which would be the fourth time doing so since March. The agency increased its benchmark interest rate back in June by a three-quarter-point hike, likely doing the same this time around as well.
“I think what we’ve heard from the Fed is pretty much this is an unprecedented situation,” said Phil Schuman, executive director of Financial Wellness and Education at Indiana University. “They’re trying to do everything they can to stem the rising inflation and do everything on their part to sort of make the cost of borrowing go up to sort of slow things down.”
Inflation in the U.S. sits at a four-decade high, which explains why the Fed has been taking such aggressive action.
“Inflation continues to rise. It has for quite some time now,” Schuman said. “We’re seeing a lot of households at the moment that are struggling for their basic needs because the cost of goods continue to rise. So we’re not sure how much longer this is going to continue to go.”
The Fed is expected to impose a three-quarter-point hike, which would put the rate around 2.25 – 2.5%. While the rate increase will make it costlier to take out a loan, the Fed aims to slow down the economy and reduce with this effort.
“I think all the steps that are being taken right now are things that to sort of either prevent a recession or ease a recession if it does come about,” Schuman said.
Schuman said it is hard to predict what will happen next due to several complicated circumstances.
“At the same time, those supply chain issues still exist even independently of those interest rate hikes,” he said. “It’s going to take those supply chain issues to sort of catch up to also fix things too.”
Experts say the rate increase will not be able to reverse that issue, rather it will need to be resolved separately.
Schuman said consumers should not expect a sudden change in prices of goods. He said it will likely take time before you start to see the cost of everyday items go down.
“There may be some adjustments over time,” Schuman said. “They may be slow to react as well. So yeah, these interest rates are going to hopefully have this effect, but it probably will be some time before we really see things settle down and we have an idea of what sort of the new normal prices are.”
In the meantime, if you have a credit card or are in the market for a new home, you might want to keep an eye on the rising interest rates.
“For people that are using credit cards or thinking about applying for credit cards, it can also apply to interest rates there,” Schuman said. “So for anyone that’s really thinking about borrowing money at this point, the cost of borrowing is going to go up pretty significantly.”
Experts also anticipate the Fed will continue raising rates for the foreseeable future. Fed officials have signaled the possibility of lifting them to a range of 3.25 – 3.5% by the end of the year.