Fed says rates stay low for extended period

The Federal Reserve Board’s Open Market Committee wrapped up a two day interest rate meeting Wednesday afternoon vowing to keep rates “exceptionally low” for “an extended period.”

Policy makers also say there are growing signs of an economy on the mend.

Since the Fed’s last meeting in September, policy makers say economic activity has continued to pick up.

“Conditions in financial markets were roughly unchanged, on balance, over the intermeeting period. Activity in the housing sector has increased in recent months,” policy makers said in a statement. “Household spending appears to be expanding but remains constrained by ongoing job losses, sluggish income growth, lower housing wealth and tight credit.”

They also note that, while businesses are still reducing investment and staffing, the pace of cutting back appears to have slowed. They also expect little inflation for some time to come.

The Fed remains committed to its earlier goal of purchasing $1.25 trillion in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed debt but reduced its commitment on buying agency debt to $175 billion from $200 billion.

The Fed held its benchmark overnight lending rate at zero to 0.25 percent. The Fed has left rates unchanged since December 2008.

 New Mexico Business Weekly