The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that near-zero short-term interest rates are likely to remain in place “"at least through late 2014.’’
The decision, which was announced following a meeting of the central bank’s policymaking Federal Open Market Committee, was made because of sluggish economic growth, according to a news release.
The Fed noted that while “indicators point to some further improvement in overall labor market conditions, the unemployment rate remains elevated. Household spending has continued to advance, but growth in business fixed investment has slowed, and the housing sector remains depressed.
Inflation has been subdued in recent months, and longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.’’
The Fed’s targeted funds rate, currently between zero and .25%, is the interest rate at which depository institutions lend balances at the Federal Reserve to other depository institutions overnight.
The committee, which last August had announced that it probably would keep rates unchanged through mid-2013, made today’s decision by a 9-1 vote.
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker was the sole dissenter.
According to the Fed’s release he “preferred to omit the description of the time period over which economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate.’’