WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 27: U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference following a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) at the headquarters of the Federal Reserve, July 27, 2022 in Washington, DC. Powell announced that the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised its benchmark interest rate by a hefty three-quarters of a point for a second straight time in its most aggressive drive in more than three decades to tame high inflation. The Fed’s move will raise its key rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, to a range of 2.25% to 2.5%, its highest level since 2018. Speaking at a news conference, Chair Jerome Powell gave mixed signals about the Fed’s next moves. He stressed that the central bank remains committed to defeating chronically high inflation, while at the same time holding out hope that it may soon shift to smaller rate hikes.