The Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee wrapped up its two day meeting Tuesday afternoon, and, as expected, affirmed its existing policy of keeping rates at "exceptionally low levels" while the economic recovery continues.
The Fed kept its target range for the federal funds rate between 0% and 1/4% and will continue reinvesting principal payments from its securities holdings. A lone dissenter, Thomas Hoenig, who heads the Kansas City Fed, said he believed the economy "continues to recover at a moderate pace" and that the low rate "will lead to future imbalances that undermine stable long-run growth." He also objected to the continuation of the securities reinvestment policy.
In its statement, the committee said "the pace of recovery in output and employment has slowed in recent months. Household spending is increasing gradually, but remains constrained by high unemployment, modest income growth, lower housing wealth, and tight credit. Business spending on equipment and software is rising, though less rapidly than earlier in the year, while investment in nonresidential structures continues to be weak.Employers remain reluctant to add to payrolls. Housing starts are at a depressed level. Bank lending has continued to contract, but at a reduced rate in recent months."
At the same time, the group said, inflation gauges remain "somewhat below"the Fed's comfort level while "substaintial resource slack" makes it likely that "inflation will remain subdued for some time."
Still, the group said it expects "the pace of economic recovery is likely to be modest in the near term."