As expected the Open Market Committee, the rate setting-panel for the US Federal Reserve has opted for a sixth straight increase in interest rates of a quarter of a percentage point at the conclusion of its two day policy meeting. The increase takes the US rate to 2.5%, which brings it into line with its neighbour to the north, Canada. The euro zone’s weaker economy has kept the rate there at just 2%. Britain, to curb borrowing, is at 4.75%. The financial markets had taken it as a foregone conclusion that the rate would go up to 2.5% as economic data since the central bank’s policymakers last met in December generally shows US economic expansion to be steady. Analysts say they see no reason for the Fed to change its policy of gradually raising interest rates.