In its statement following today's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, the Fed acknowledged the U.S. economy is "expanding moderately," especially the labor sector, but cautioned there are still sizable economic risks. Strains in global financial markets, while less than they have been, are still a concern.
The Fed says the recent surge in gasoline prices is expected to cause only a "temporary" jump in inflation and expects inflation to run "at or below" its dual mandate rate.
As for monetary policy, the Fed pledged to keep short-term interest rates near zero through at least late 2014. More importantly, the Fed gave no clues as to whether it will start a new bond-buying program. Neither was a surprise. Expectations that the Fed will offer additional quantitative easing to boost economic growth had eased recently as economic data continues to show signs of gradual improvement, in essence, buying the Fed some time to further assess economic conditions.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to hold his quarterly press conference at the conclusion of the next FOMC meeting April 24-25, so that's the next possibility for when there could be clues on another round of quantitative easing.
Click here for the FOMC statement press release.