WASHINGTON -- Federal Reserve policymakers met yesterday and decided not to raise short-term interest rates again.
The 12-member Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled to meet again on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, and analysts said there is a good chance rates will be raised at that time, if not before.
Donald Fine, chief market analyst for Chase Securities Inc., said officials probably adopted a policy directive leaning toward another credit-tightening that could be implemented in January on fresh evidence of strong economic growth. "If the numbers continue in the vein we've seen recently, just be prepared for an upward move," he said.
Officials in the Fed's office of public affairs said committee members adjourned at 12:45 p.m. after a meeting that began at about 9:00 a.m. No further details were disclosed, other than to say there was no announcement on rates.
Many economists are predicting that rates will continue to climb in the first half of next year until officials are convinced the economy is colling.
Five of the six increases in 1994 came during FOMC meetings, and one came in between meetings on April 17. Fed chairman Alan Greenspan has the authority to raise rates without a formal committee meeting, in which case he consults with members by telephone.
The next major economic report is the December unemployment report, which is due Jan. 6.