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Fed raises key interest rate in largest hike since 1994

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Reserve intensified its fight against high inflation on Wednesday, raising its key interest rate by three-quarters of a point — the largest bump since 1994 — and signaling more rate hikes ahead as it tries to cool off the U.S.

economy without causing a recession.The unusually large rate hike came after data released Friday showed U.S. inflation rose last month to a four-decade high of 8.6% — a surprise jump that made financial markets uneasy about how the Fed would respond.

The Fed's benchmark short-term rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, will now be pegged to a range of 1.5% to 1.75% — and Fed policymakers forecast a doubling of that range by year's end."We thought strong action was warranted at this meeting, and we delivered that," Fed Chair Jerome Powell said at a news conference in which he stressed the central bank's commitment to do what it takes to bring inflation down to the Fed's target rate of 2%.

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