"In the current environment, the FOMC continues to anticipate that economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period," Duke said, referring to the U.S. central bank's policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee. "Such policy accommodation is warranted to provide support for a return over time to more desirable levels of real activity and unemployment in the context of price stability." The Fed cut interest rates to near zero in December 2008 and created a host of emergency lending facilities to fight the worst recession in more than 70 years. It has pledged low rates for an extended period.