The U.S. Federal Reserve decided Wednesday to hold its key interest rate unchanged at a range of zero to a quarter of one percent, while acknowledging recent progress in terms of growth and employment.
It adds the rate will be maintained until its goals of maximum employment and two percent inflation are reached over the longer term.
"With regard to interest rates, we continue to expect it will be appropriate to maintain the current zero to one quarter percent target range for the federal funds rate until labor market conditions have reached levels consistent with the committee's assessment of maximum employment, and inflation has risen to two percent and is on track to moderately exceed 2% for some time."
The Fed's policy-setting arm has held rates near zero since March last year, when the U.S. economy began to be severely impacted by the pandemic and related restrictions.
The Federal Reserve chief also explained that the Fed plans to stick to its monthly asset purchases.
"We will continue to increase our holdings of Treasury securities by at least $80 billion dollars per month, end of agency mortgage backed securities by at least $40 billion dollars per month until substantial further progress has been made toward our maximum employment and price stability goals."
Although the Fed has noted there has been progress on employment, Powell noted that the U.S. is still a long way from full employment.
Overall, however, he did hint that the pandemic's threat to the economy has diminished.
He said risks remain, as opposed to his statement last month that COVID-19 posed (quote) "considerable risks to the economic outlook."
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.