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By Han Wei / Dec 20, 2018 03:36 AM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The Federal Reserve Wednesday raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point but signaled a slower pace of increases next year.

In the fourth increase this year, the Fed took the target range for its benchmark federal funds rate to between 2.25% and 2.5%. The move marked the ninth increase since the U.S. central bank began normalizing rates in December 2015 following years of near-zero rates following the Financial Crisis.

The central bank trimmed its forecast of rate increases for the next year from three to two, signaling a slower pace for its monetary tightening campaign.

The Fed said in a Wednesday statement that U.S. “economic activity has been rising at a strong rate’’ and the central bank will “continue to monitor global economic and financial developments and assess their implications for the economic outlook.”

The rate rise came two days after President Donald Trump urged the Fed on Twitter to hold rates steady .

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