The US Federal Reserve has raised interest rates for the first time in nine years. The decision comes after months of speculation and signals the Fed feels the US economy is strong enough to handle an increase. The American central bank's policy-setting committee raised the range of its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to between 0.25% and 0.50% Rates in the US have been at near-zero since 2008. Financial markets had expected the rate hike, encouraged by recent US data showing job growth continuing at a strong pace. The move is likely to impact markets around the world, resulting in higher borrowing costs for some developing economies. ARN’s US correspondent Nick Harper reports from New York.