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Fed Hints Rate Hikes Could Come, But Not in April

A key word in central bank's statement could signal whether interest rates will begin to rise for first time in almost a decade.
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/ Source: CNBC.com

The Federal Reserve fired its first warning shot Wednesday that it's going to start hiking interest rates at some point.

It came in the form of the Federal Open Market Committee dropping the word "patient" from its post-meeting statement. It's a subtle indication that the era of zero interest rates is about to end.

Citing low inflation and a soft job market, the statement added that "an increase in the target range for the federal funds rate remains unlikely at the April FOMC meeting," a phrase missing from previous communiques.

At a news conference, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the language change did not indicate a June rate hike was coming either, though she also said it could not be ruled out.

If interest rates go up it would make it more expensive for consumers to get loans and carry debt.

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-- Jeff Coxx