Page last updated at 19:40 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Federal Reserve maintains low interest rates

Federal Reserve Board Building, Washington DC
The Fed said economic activity was continuing to strengthen

The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged at their range of between zero and 0.25%, although one committee member voted against the action.

The US central bank repeated its vow to keep rates exceptionally low for an extended period.

But Thomas Hoenig said economic conditions had changed sufficiently that that should no longer need to be the case.

Interest rates have been at their current low range since December 2008.

The policy statement from the 10-member Federal Open Market Committee was somewhat brighter than the one it released after its December meeting.

"Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in December suggests that economic activity has continued to strengthen and that the deterioration in the labour market is abating," the Fed said.

However, it removed a reference to improvement in the housing market.

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