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US Central Bank Holds Interest Rates Steady

  • Jim Randle

Top officials of the U.S. central bank are keeping their key interest rate steady for the time being.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve also made it clear that officials will probably raise rates later this year, perhaps twice, in small increments. Previously, experts had expected a larger number of rate hikes.

In a meeting with journalists, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said inflation "picked up" in recent months, but "continued to run below" the Fed's two percent target rate.

Yellen said slow growth in overseas economies poses some risks to the U.S. economy, making it “prudent” to continue low interest rates. She also said unemployment will continue to improve, falling to 4.7 percent by the end of this year.

The Fed last raised interest rates in December to a still-low one-half of one percent.

The Fed's job is to promote full employment and stable prices. Cutting interest rates helped stimulate the economy and employment during the recession. The Fed traditionally raises rates to keep inflation from rising too high, which could hurt the economy.