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Federal Reserve holds rates at near-zero levels, continues asset purchases Updated: 2021-07-29 07:57:54 KST

The Federal Reserve has kept its ultra-low interest rates unchanged, adding it will continue its asset purchases.
Officials, however, insist the Fed is focused on the best timing to start tapering.
Kim Hyo-sun reports.
The Fed decided Wednesday to hold its benchmark interest rate near zero, adding the U.S. economy continues to progress despite concerns over the pandemic.
"Today, the Federal Open Market Committee kept interest rates near zero and maintained our asset purchases. These measures, along with our strong guidance on interest rates and on our balance sheet, will ensure that monetary policy will continue to support the economy until the recovery is complete."
In addition to the move that was widely expected by market watchers, the Fed also decided to continue buying large quantities of government debt.
However, the Fed hinted it could slow such purchases if the U.S. economy continues to strengthen.
The Fed has been buying 120 billion U.S. dollars in mortgage-backed securities and Treasury bonds every month since last year, but economists expect the Fed to begin tapering later this year or early 2022.
During a news conference Wednesday following the two-day policy meeting, the Fed chairman said the exact timing will depend on incoming data.
He also elaborated that the U.S. economy is sustaining a strong recovery from the pandemic, with solid hiring and spending.
"Progress in vaccinations and unprecedented fiscal policy actions are also providing strong support to the recovery. Indicators of economic activity and employment have continued to strengthen, and real GDP this year appears to be on track to post its fastest rate of increase in decades."
The U.S. economy has been showing signs of improvement since the start of the year, but the Fed is cautious to make sure it's not pulling back too abruptly, especially when total employment is still millions of jobs below pre-pandemic levels.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.
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