US stocks fell after Fed Chairman Janet Yellen raised the Fed’s benchmark overnight interest rate to a record-low 0.25% and said the Fed will keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged for the next year.
Yellen also raised the key benchmark interest rates for 10-year Treasury notes and mortgage-backed securities, as well as rates on long-term securities, from 2.5% to 2.75%.
That was a surprise to investors, who had expected Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to announce the new policy in late January.
The Fed did not immediately comment on Yellen’s announcement.
Yellin’s announcement came after Yellen and other central bankers in the Federal Reserve Board met in Washington to discuss what to do about the U.S. economy.
Yellen, a Democrat, said on Wednesday that the Fed should keep rates at their historic low level, and she also said that the central bank should ease its bond-buying program to reduce the risk of a run on the banks.
She also said the Federal Open Market Committee should keep its monetary policy unchanged until the unemployment rate drops below 6.5%.
The Federal Reserve has not been able to raise rates on the basis of a consensus economic picture, which was a major reason the Fed chose to leave its benchmark rate at a record low, a policy that has been criticized for failing to reduce long-run inflation expectations.
Yellin, who also is chairwoman of the Fed, said the central banks policy of keeping interest rates unchanged for a year or more is necessary because it allows the Fed to make sure that the economy continues to grow.
The move by Yellen on Wednesday was also seen as an indication that the U,S.
central bank may be taking a step back from its mission of stimulating the economy by reducing the unemployment and inflation rate.
But Yellen told the meeting that the unemployment is still too high and that she does not see a path forward without raising the unemployment.
“There is still a very high unemployment rate,” Yellen said.
“We’re not there yet.
We have a lot of work to do.”
Yellen was expected to make a similar statement on Thursday, but she delayed the comments.
The decision by Yellen was welcomed by many economists who have long argued that the rate hike is needed to get the unemployment down.
“It will allow the Fed … to keep its key rate unchanged and also reduce the unemployment in a time when the labor market is improving and inflation is low,” said Jonathan D. Perry, chief economist at the Center for American Progress think tank.
“I’m very pleased that she’s done this.
It’s a step in the right direction.”
The Fed’s move will also allow the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to lower the monthly payment of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two of the two major mortgage-financing agencies.
The Federal Housing Administration, which administers the FHFA, said it will lower payments for Fannie and Freddie for people who are on the payrolls of banks that make mortgage-equity loans to home buyers.
The move will help reduce the total amount of payments that Fannie’s and Freddie’s borrowers have to make each month.
The FHSA, which has historically had low rates on Fannie or Freddie, raised its rate for FHA loans to mortgage borrowers in April to 1.875% and for FHLs to homebuyers in September to 1%.
“These are two of our largest loan servicers, and it’s critical that they continue to receive rate reductions,” said Robert O. Johnson, a senior economist at Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services.
The Fed is expected to raise the rate for all mortgage-related loans to 3.0% this year.
“This move by the FOMC is a big step forward, and I expect it will be seen by market participants as further evidence that the Fannie/Freddie program has returned to a more normal rate of borrowing,” said Daniel Yergin, chief investment officer at TD Ameritrade.
“But the market has been skeptical of FHAs ability to maintain such low rates for longer.”
Yerglins group also noted that the recent changes in interest rates on mortgage-linked bonds, which were lower than the previous rate hikes, were expected to last longer than previously anticipated.
The last time the FHA and FHL had lower rates was in August 2016.
The decision by the Fed was met with criticism from some lawmakers who had raised concerns about the need for the central bankers action.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, said Yellen has “put herself at risk” by announcing the Fed would hike rates.
“The Federal Open Bank has been on a path to failure,” she said in a statement.
Sen. Elizabeth Esty (D) of Connecticut said the move would hurt the economy.
“With the recent hike in interest costs, we are going to see a spike in inflationary pressures