The Federal Reserve on Wednesday kept its key interest rate near zero as expected and said it would end its purchase of $300 million in Treasury securities in October, one month later than previously announced.
The federal funds rate will remain between 0 to ¼ percent and say it will remain so “economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for an extended period,” the Fed said today in a released statement.
The committee voted 10-0 to approve today’s decision to keep rates unchanged.
The Fed said unanimously the amount of its Treasury purchase program won’t change, however it noted that the purchase period would continue until the end of October, instead of September as previously expected.
“To promote a smooth transition in markets as these purchases of Treasury securities are completed, the Committee has decided to gradually slow the pace of these transactions and anticipates that the full amount will be purchased by the end of October,” the Committee stated.
The Fed said economic activity is “leveling out” in line with economists’ views of leading indicators that the economy’s rate of descent is slowing down. The rate of job losses has been slowing and economic activity is declining much less than earlier in the year.
While “economic activity is likely to remain weak for a time,” the committee said it expects a “gradual resumption of sustainable economic growth.”
The committee also said inflation would “remain subdued for some time,” saying that despite recent rises in commodities prices, there is a resource slack that could dampen cost pressures.
The Fed also kept its plan to purchase $1.25 trillion of agency mortgage-backed securities in place, as well as the purchase of up to $200 billion of agency debt.
There are concerns that the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has grown too big, however the Fed indicated no changes in today’s statement, saying only it would monitor the size and composition of its balance sheet.