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    The Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by a third in a week to a record $85.20 per barrel, the first time since December the central bank has moved up.

    The Fed said Thursday it would raise the benchmark rate for the first year in a row by two percentage points to a range of 1.75 to 1.85 percent.

    The decision, announced in a news conference, followed the Federal Reserve’s March meeting when the central banker announced a 2.75 percent rise in the benchmark interest rate to a target of 2 percent.

    “The Fed’s decision today to raise the overnight lending rate to the highest level in nearly two decades reflects the important role the central banks have played in shaping the global economy, and the continued impact of these actions on financial stability and the economy overall,” the central bankers’ statement said.

    It also said the decision reflects the need to maintain stability in financial markets and to ensure the stability of financial markets.

    “It is appropriate for the Fed to continue to support the market and to maintain our ability to maintain monetary policy as needed to promote the economic health and well-being of the U.S. economy,” the statement said, adding that it was “important to note that the rate increase reflects a modest rise in rates that reflects the extent to which the market is pricing in the risks that remain from continued policy accommodation.”

    The Fed’s bond-buying program for the coming months has been a key tool to boost economic activity.

    It will buy $4.6 trillion in bonds in January and February, as well as $2.3 trillion in Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, according to people familiar with the matter.

    The central bank said it would increase its bond purchases by $300 billion this year and by $2 trillion next year, as it seeks to boost growth and inflation.

    “We remain committed to a balanced approach to the balance of risks and rewards that we have identified,” the Fed said.

    The Federal Open Market Committee, which sets interest rates, is scheduled to meet Thursday at 9 a.m. ET.

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