WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve officials signaled that they still expect to cut their key interest rate three times in 2024 despite signs that inflation stayed surprisingly high at the start of the year.

Yet they foresee fewer rate cuts in 2025, and they slightly raised their inflation forecasts.

The officials kept their benchmark rate unchanged for a fifth straight time.

In new quarterly projections they issued, the Fed officials forecast that stronger growth and stubborn inflation would persist this year and next.

Rate cuts would, over time, lead to lower costs for home and auto loans, credit card borrowing and business loans.

They might also aid President Joe Biden’s re-election bid, which is facing widespread public unhappiness over higher prices.

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