The U.S. central bank says its benchmark interest rate will remain unchanged, to foster conditions for maximum employment and price stability. 

Despite steady hiring and unemployment at five percent, officials from the central bank's policymaking body say inflation remains below the Fed target rate of two percent. 

That is mostly due to the earlier declines in energy prices. 

But the Federal Open Market Committee, which concluded its two-day meeting Wednesday, projects inflation will start to rise over the medium term as the labor market continues to strengthen and energy prices start to moderate.

The Fed is also monitoring global economic and financial developments to determine the domestic impact of slower growth in emerging markets. 

The federal funds rate, or the rate the central bank charges banks on overnight loans, remains near record lows in a range from one-quarter to one-half of one percent. The Fed's last rate hike was in December, when it raised the rate by a quarter of one percent. The Fed has not ruled out another quarter point increase in June, at the next scheduled meeting for the bank's policy-setting group.