The Federal Reserve raised interest rates today, as expected, and forecast three more years of economic growth as the U.S. central bank left its policy for steady rate rises in place.

In a statement that marked the end of the era of "accommodative" monetary policy, Fed policymakers lifted the benchmark overnight lending rate by a quarter of a percentage point to a range of 2.00% to 2.25%.

The Fed still foresees another rate hike in December, three more next year, and one increase in 2020.

That would put the benchmark overnight lending rate at 3.4%, roughly half a percentage point above the Fed's estimated "neutral" rate of interest, at which rates neither stimulate nor restrict the economy.

That tight policy stance is projected to stay level through 2021, the time frame of the Fed's latest economic projections.

The Fed sees the economy growing at a faster-than-expected 3.% this year and continuing to expand moderately for at least three more years, amid sustained low unemployment and stable inflation near its 2% target.

"The labor market has continued to strengthen ... economic activity has been rising at a strong rate," the Fed said in its statement, which removed its longstanding reference to the fact that monetary policy remained "accommodative."

It inserted no substitute language for the phrase, which had been a staple of its guidance for financial markets and households for much of the past decade. The wording had become less and less accurate since the central bank began increasing rates in late 2015 from a near-zero level, and its removal means the Fed now considers rates near neutral.

The Fed's latest projections show the economy continuing at a steady pace through 2019, with GDP growth seen at 2.5% next year before slowing to 2.0% in 2020 and to 1.8% in 2021, as the impact of the recent tax cuts and government spending fade.

Inflation was forecast to hover near 2% over the next three years, while the unemployment rate is expected to fall to 3.5% next year and remain there through 2020 before rising slightly in 2021. The jobless rate is currently 3.9%.

With risks described as roughly balanced, the statement left the Fed on a steady course for the next year. Risks to the current run of economic growth, such as the threat of a damaging round of global tariffs increases, were largely set aside.

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