US Fed keeps benchmark interest rate unchanged

Washington, April 28 (IANS) The US Federal Reserve said that it will maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0.25-0.5 percent, but gave little clue on the timing of its next rate hike.

The US labor market conditions “have improved further” even as growth in economic activity “appears to have slowed”, the Fed said in a statement on Wednesday after wrapping up a two-day policy meeting, noting that it will continue to “closely monitor” inflation indicators and global economic and financial developments, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Fed currently expects that the US economy will expand “at a moderate pace” and the labor market indicators will “continue to strengthen,” according to the statement.

The Fed raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 0.25-0.5 percent in December, the first rate hike in nearly a decade, marking the end of an era of extraordinary easing monetary policy.

But the turmoil in financial markets and a slowdown in global economy since the start of the year have raised increasing concerns about the strength of the U.S. economy, forcing Fed policymakers to hold off on any further rate hikes since then.

–IANS

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