WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve said Wednesday it would quicken the pace at which it’s pulling back its support for the post-pandemic U.S. economy as inflation surges.
Fed officials also said they expect to raise interest rates three times next year.
In an abrupt policy shift, the Fed announced that it would shrink its monthly bond purchases at twice the pace it previously announced, likely ending them in March.
The bond purchases were intended to hold down long-term rates to aid the economy but are no longer needed with unemployment falling and inflation at a near-40-year high.
The accelerated timetable puts the Fed on a path to raising rates in the first half of next year.
Earlier this month, the Labor Department reported that inflation jumped 6.8% in November compared with a year earlier. That marked the highest annual inflation rate since 1982.
Prices for commodities like food, gasoline and housing are rising rapidly, intensifying pressure on consumers — especially lower-income households.
A recent survey from the National Federation of Independent Businesses says 57% of firms are raising prices, while just 6% are cutting prices.