The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates for the third time this year. Policymakers under Chairman Jerome Powell unanimously agreed to raise the federal funds rate a quarter percentage point, to a range of 2% to 2.25%. The rate helps determine rates for mortgages, credit cards and other consumer borrowing. “Our economy is strong,” Powell said at a press conference on Wednesday. “These rates remain low, and my colleagues and I believe that this gradual returning to normal is helping to sustain this strong economy.” Central bankers raised expectations for a fourth rate hike in December, with a majority now in favor of such a move. In June, policymakers were split on whether the Fed should raise rates four times this year or three. Looking ahead to 2019, Fed officials expect at least three rate hikes will be necessary, and one more in 2020. The Fed raised its expectation for economic growth this year to 3.1% from 2.8%, but for 2019, Fed officials expect growth to slow to 2.5% amid worries about the growing trade rift between the United States and China.