A dovish Federal Reserve held the line on interest rates Wednesday and substantially scaled back its expectations for further moves ahead.
Where the U.S. central bank at its December meeting had projected four rate hikes in 2016, new estimates released Wednesday reduced that number to two. Fed officials also cut their expectations for economic growth and inflation.
In addition to the two rate increases this year, the Federal Open Market Committee now projects just two hikes in 2017, according to the latest Summary of Economic Projections.
The current interest rate target is 0.25 to 0.5 percent, and Fed officials back in December had expected the upper level to rise to 1.4 percent by year's end. With the new projections, the FOMC now sees just a 0.9 percent funds rate in 2016 and a 1.9 percent level by the end of 2017, both reflecting cuts of half a percentage point.