The Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday maintained the federal funds rate at a range of zero to 0.25%.
According to a Federal Reserve Board release, the Fed reaffirmed its previous position that the rate will probably remain at the same level through late 2014 or beyond, due to low rates of resource utilization and a subdued outlook for inflation over the medium run.
The FOMC said it expects economic growth to remain moderate in coming quarters and then to pick up gradually. Consequently, the committee anticipates the unemployment rate will decline gradually. However, strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook, the Fed reported.
The increase in oil and gasoline prices earlier this year is expected to affect inflation only temporarily, and the committee anticipates that inflation “will run at or below the rate that it judges most consistent with its dual mandate.”
The FOMC will continue its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities in order to place downward pressure on longer-term interest rates. The committee said it also hopes to keep mortgage rates low by rolling over its investments in agency mortgage-backed securities.