Fed Asset Sales to Start Next Month; Rate Hike Seen in 2017

Federal Reserve officials set an October start for shrinking their $4.5 trillion stockpile of assets, moving to unwind a pillar of their crisis-era support for the economy. They continued to forecast one more interest-rate hike later this year, saying storm damage will have only a temporary impact on the economy.

“Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have devastated many communities, inflicting severe hardship,” the Federal Open Market Committee said in its statement on Wednesday following a two-day meeting in Washington. “Storm-related disruptions and rebuilding will affect economic activity in the near term, but past experience suggests that the storms are unlikely to materially alter the course of the national economy over the medium term.”

Policy makers left the benchmark interest rate unchanged in a range of 1 percent to 1.25 percent.

U.S. central bankers are counting on steady growth and low unemployment to raise inflation closer to their goal, which would

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