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Fed, seeing moderate growth ahead, sticks with low-rate policy

April 25, 2012|By Don Lee
  • Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, at a quarterly news conference last year. The Fed chief will meet with the press Wednesday afternoon after the central bank issued its latest policy statement and economic outlook.
Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, at a quarterly news conference… (Brendan Smialowski / Bloomberg )

WASHINGTON -- Top Federal Reserve officials, saying the economy is expanding moderately, reaffirmed their pledge to keep short-term interest rates at record lows through 2014.

The Fed’s statement Wednesday, after a two-day meeting in Washington, gave no indication that additional efforts to boost the economy were coming.

The Fed’s assessment of the economy overall was little changed from its statement issued after its last meeting, in mid-March. Officials reiterated Wednesday that the job market has improved in recent months but that unemployment remains high.  

The latest statement, however, said for the first time that there are “some signs of improvement” in the housing sector, although it remains depressed. And the central bank, while repeating that it expects economic expansion to remain moderate over coming quarters, added that the pace of growth should then “pick up gradually.”

The statement suggests that Fed policymakers made little change in their quarterly economic forecast, scheduled to be released later Wednesday afternoon, shortly before Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke discusses the central bank’s policies and economic outlook at a news conference.

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