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Fed hikes rates by half a percentage point for 1st time in 22 years

U.S. central bank to start balance sheet reduction June 1

Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference at the Federal Reserve in Washington on May 4.   © AP

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised its benchmark overnight interest rate by half a percentage point, the biggest jump in 22 years, and the U.S. central bank's chief made a direct appeal to Americans struggling with high inflation to hang tough while officials take the hard measures to bring it under control.

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