FOMC holds federal funds rate steady
The Federal Open Market Committee decided Tuesday to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0% to 0.25% but said high oil prices could temporarily push inflation higher.
The committee said the information it's received since meeting in January suggest the economy is expanding moderately.
The FOMC decided to continue its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities as announced in September.
"The committee is maintaining its existing policies of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction," the central bank said in a release.
Moderate economic growth will occur over coming quarters, and the unemployment rate will decline gradually, the FOMC said, toward levels it judges to be consistent with its dual mandate of maximum employment price stability.
The recent increase in oil and gasoline prices will push up inflation temporarily, but the FOMC expects subsequent inflation to run at or below the rate most consistent with its dual mandate.
Analysts at Barclays Capital said the FOMC's statement reflects a decrease in the odds of further quantitative easing.
"For further easing, our view is that either the economy would need to slow suddenly or inflation would have to decline more than the committee currently anticipates," analysts said. "We do not expect further easing this year."