Fed leaves key rate unchanged

posted Dec 16, 2009, 9:27 PM by Casey Elliott
The Federal Reserve today announced it will maintain its target for the federal funds rate in the 0 percent to 0.25 percent range, and expects economic conditions to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period of time. “Information ? suggests that economic activity has continued to pick up and that the deterioration in the labor market is abating,” the Fed said in a prepared statement. 

“Financial market conditions have become more supportive of economic growth, although economic activity is likely to remain weak for a time.  The Committee anticipates that policy actions to stabilize financial markets and institutions, fiscal and monetary stimulus, and market forces will contribute to a strengthening of economic growth and a gradual return to higher levels of resource utilization in a context of price stability,” the Fed said.
To provide support to mortgage lending and housing markets and to improve overall conditions in private credit markets, the Federal Reserve also said it will purchase a total of $1.25 trillion of agency mortgage-backed securities and nearly $175 billion of agency debt, and will gradually slow the pace of these purchases in order to promote a smooth transition in markets.