Fed promises to keep rates low for at least 2 years
The Federal Reserve said it will keep its hefty monetary policy stimulus for at least another two years, an effort to support a flagging economy and fragile global markets that faced considerable internal dissent.
It was unclear whether the decision, which involved no new committment of funds for bond purchases, would be enough to put a floor on a US stock market that has fallen more than 15 percent in the last two weeks.
The Fed said US economic growth was proving considerably weaker than expected, suggesting inflation, which has already moderated recently, will remain contained for the foreseeable future.
Three officials, Richard Fisher of the Dallas Fed, Narayana Kocherlakota of Minneapolis and Charles Plosser of Philadelphia, voted against the move.
"The committee currently anticipates that economic conditions - including low rates of resource utilization and a subdued outlook for inflation over the medium run - are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through mid-2013," the US central bank said in a statement.
It also reiterated its policy of reinvesting the proceeds from bonds maturing in its portfolio, though it did not state a specific time frame for such actions.