Federal Reserve Chairman Powell announces increase in interest rates this month

The Fed's rate increase would be the first since 2018

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell announced Wednesday that the central bank will begin raising interest rates this month – in an attempt to curb rising inflation expected to further increase as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Powell e the Fed will "need to be nimble" in responding to unexpected changes resulting from the invasion and the resulting sanctions, according to the Associated Press.

"Inflation is too high," Powell told the House Financial Services Committee. "I would also say that given the current situation, we need to move carefully. We will be nimble." 

The Fed has been expected to raise its benchmark short-term interest rate several times in 2022, starting at its March 15-16 meeting.

The rate hike this month would be the first since 2018, as the Fed tries to balance imposing one high enough to slow record-high inflation, while also maintaining employment and economic expansion, the wire service also reports