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Next Fed Meeting: When It Is in May and What To Expect

Fact checked by Vikki VelasquezReviewed by Samantha Silberstein

The next Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting will be held on April 30-May 1, 2024. This is one of the key dates that investors, economists, and policymakers mark on their calendars. Many experts expect the Fed to hold rates steady at a target of 5.25%-5.50%, as the Fed still waits for inflation to ease a bit more.

The FOMC serves as the monetary policy-making arm of the Federal Reserve System, and its decisions have far-reaching implications for the U.S. economy. Meeting eight times a year, and occasionally more if the situation demands, the FOMC deliberates on the nation’s interest rates and other financial policies. These decisions influence everything from the rates you get on your savings account to the cost of borrowing for homes and businesses. So, when the FOMC speaks, people listen.

Key Takeaways

  • The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) held rates steady during their most recent meeting in March 2024, as well as the prior September and November meetings.
  • The Fed signaled that rates could begin to decline in the near future, but they will keep an eye on changing economic conditions.
  • The FOMC raised interest rates to 5.25%–5.50% at the July 2023 meeting, marking 11 rate hikes in a cycle aimed at curbing high inflation. Since then, rates have held steady.
  • Some Fed watchers remain concerned about more interest rate increases due to risks of bank failures, stock market instability, mortgage rates, and global economic uncertainty.

The Latest Fed Moves

During the most recent FOMC meeting held on March 19-20, 2024, interest rates were kept unchanged at 5.25%-5.50%. This was quite expected, as it gives the Fed additional time to evaluate if the current rates keep inflation at bay without hampering economic growth too much. However, the tone of the last meeting’s minutes took a bit of a hawkish tone, which stated, “The Committee does not expect it will be appropriate to reduce the target range until it has gained greater confidence that inflation is moving sustainably toward 2 percent.” This is a change in language from the meetings held in late 2023, where the FOMC signaled that at least three rate cuts could be in the cards for 2024. Indeed, the Fed has indicated that inflation remains a key concern, and government reports since the Fed last met in January show the pace of inflation remains stubbornly high. Market expectations going into the March meeting were, therefore, somewhat muted that the Fed would cut.

During the 2022-2023 cycle, the Fed increased rates 11 times to slow inflation but has held rates steady at 5.25%-5.50% since July 2023. Indeed, after the September 2023 meeting, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell had hinted that one more hike before 2023 was over was still in the cards. That, however, did not come to pass as the Fed’s aggressive rate hiking campaign in 2022-’23 seemed to have already done the job. Whether that sticks remains to be seen.

Still, Powell reiterated that no decisions about the future have been made, and the Fed will continue to take it meeting by meeting and that he would be willing to hold rates steady for as long as is needed.

What Happens at Fed Meetings?

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is the monetary policy-making body of the Federal Reserve System, the central bank of the United States. The FOMC holds eight regularly scheduled meetings during the year and may hold other meetings as needed to set emergency short-term interest rates or implement other policy tools.

The FOMC consists of 12 members: the seven members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and four of the remaining 11 Reserve Bank presidents, who serve one-year terms on a rotating basis. At each FOMC meeting, the members review economic and financial conditions, determine the appropriate stance of monetary policy, and assess the risks to its long-term goals of price stability and sustainable economic growth.

The FOMC issues a statement after each meeting that summarizes its assessment of the economy and its policy decisions. The statement also includes an implementation note that provides operational details on how the policy decision will be carried out. The FOMC also publishes its Summary of Economic Projections (SEP) four times a year, showing the members’ forecasts for key economic variables over the next three years and their views on the appropriate path of the federal funds rate.

The FOMC meetings are closed to the public but are recorded and transcribed. The minutes of each meeting are released three weeks after the date of the policy decision. The transcripts are released with a five-year lag.


The FOMC chair typically holds a press conference after four of the eight meetings each year, where the chair explains the policy decision and answers questions from journalists.

Next Fed Meeting: What to Expect in May

The Federal Reserve will hold its next policy meeting on April 30-May 1, 2024, and many analysts and investors expect the central bank to continue to hold rates steady. However, the Fed also faces risks, as persistent high-interest rates can negatively affect the banking sector, stock market, and trade. These factors could weigh on its next rate decision; and so futures markets pointed to a better than 50/50 chance that the FOMC will reverse course late in 2024 and begin cutting rates as soon as the summer, according to the CME’s FedWatch Tool. Indeed, both analysts and futures markets point to rate cuts by June, but more than an 85% chance of remaining unchanged again in May.

This, of course, will all depend on the trajectory of inflation and the state of the economy. The Fed’s policy moves ultimately depend on what economic data show in the coming weeks, including measures of inflation, employment, and productivity. The Fed also will monitor credit conditions, the financial markets, and global developments closely.

The Fed’s goal is to achieve a soft landing for the U.S. economy while balancing its dual mandate of maximum employment and price stability. The Fed’s decision and statement will have important implications for investors, as they affect the cost of borrowing, the value of markets and assets, and the direction of the U.S. dollar.

Most Recent Fed Meeting (March 2024)

During the latest FOMC meeting decision, released on March 20, 2024, the Fed again held rates steady at 5.25-5.50%, continuing a pause from an aggressive rate-hiking campaign that began in March 2022 to fight rising inflation. The Fed also signaled that it was willing to keep rates steady until it sees inflation moderating toward the 2% target. However, Fed Chair Powell had stated back in December that several rate cuts could be seen later this year. Still, the Fed has indicated that it would proceed carefully as it monitored the economy and continued to unwind its balance sheet to reduce its holdings of Treasuries, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities (MBS).

The market widely expected the Fed’s decision to hold rates steady following a series of rate hikes that culminated in July, 2023, which followed another decision to hold rates steady in June, as the Fed left the door open to resuming rate hikes again if inflation didn’t moderate. The Fed had raised rates almost a dozen times since early 2022-’23 in an attempt to cool the U.S. economy and battle inflation rates that peaked at more than 9% last year. The Fed’s rate-hiking campaign has been the most aggressive since the 1980s, and it sparked some turmoil in the banking sector, the stock market, and the global economy during this period. However, rates at around 5.50% are still less than half of their 1980s peak.

The Fed reported that the American economy remains strong and the labor market resilient–but also acknowledged that the pace of growth had slowed down compared to the first parts of 2023. This, of course, despite record highs in the markets. Experts expect the Fed to continue to hold rates steady through the beginning of the year before making cuts, barring any sudden macroeconomic events.

The Fed, as usual, reaffirmed its commitment to achieving its dual mandate of maximum employment and price stability and said that it will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion. The Fed’s policy moves depend on what economic indicators point to for the coming weeks and months, including the Consumer Price Index (CPI), payrolls, and gross domestic product (GDP) growth.


The Fed’s decisions and statements have important implications for investors, as they affect the cost of borrowing, the value of assets, and the strength of the U.S. dollar. Investors and analysts pay close attention to the Fed’s signals and actions, as those can have a significant impact on their portfolios, strategies, and recommendations.

Fed Meeting Calendar

The FOMC meets regularly eight times a year. The table below shows the calendar from December 2022 thru 2024, and how the Fed decided on interest rate hikes.

Date Fed’s Decision Federal Funds Target Rate
Dec. 18, 2024 TBD TBD
Nov. 7, 2024 TBD TBD
Sep. 18, 2024 TBD TBD
July 31, 2024 TBD TBD
June 12, 2024 TBD TBD
May 1, 2024 TBD TBD
March 20, 2024 Held Steady 5.25%-5.50%
Jan. 31, 2024 Held Steady 5.25%-5.50%
Dec. 13, 2023 Held Steady 5.25%-5.50%
Nov. 1, 2023 Held Steady 5.25%-5.50%
Sept. 20, 2023 Held Steady 5.25%-5.50%
July 26, 2023 Raise +25 bps 5.25%-5.50%
June 14, 2023 Held steady 5.00%–5.25%
May 3, 2023 Raise +25 bps 5.00%–5.25%
March 22, 2023 Raise +25 bps 4.75%–5.00%
Feb. 1, 2023 Raise +25 bps 4.50%–4.75%
Dec. 14, 2022 Raise +25 bps 4.25%–4.50%

Did the Fed Raise Interest Rates in March 2024?

No, the Fed held interest rates steady at 5.25%-5.50% during its March, 2024 FOMC meeting. Rates have been steady at this level since July 2023.

How Many Rate Hikes Were There in 2023?

There were four rate increases in 2023, occurring at the February, March, May, and July FOMC meetings.

Will the Fed Cut Rates This Year?

It is impossible to predict exactly what the Federal Reserve will decide during its next meetings, but the wording of the Fed’s announcement indicated a wait-and-see approach. At the time of this writing, futures markets assign about an 85% probability that there will be no change during the May 2024 meeting, but is pricing in a small rate cut as an almost certainty by the end of the year.

The Bottom Line

The next FOMC meeting will be held in May 2024. The Fed has held rates steady at 5.25%-5.50% already for several months, which has provided some relief for a strained banking sector and stock market. Experts predict that the Fed will shift to rate cuts in 2024—although this will depend on economic conditions in the coming weeks.

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