Federal Reserve officials intensified their battle against the hottest inflation in a generation by shifting to end their asset-buying program earlier and signaling they favor raising interest rates in 2022 at a faster pace than expected.

Heralding one of the most hawkish policy pivots in years, the central bank said Wednesday that it will double the pace at which it's scaling back purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities to $30 billion a month, putting it on track to conclude the program in early 2022, rather than midyear as initially planned.

Projections published alongside the statement showed officials expect three quarter-point increases in the benchmark federal funds rate will be appropriate next year, after holding borrowing costs near zero since March 2020.

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