Fed sticks to QE3, Operation Twist through year-end

FXstreet.com (Córdoba) - After a 2-day meeting the Federal Open Market Committee decided to leave its monetary policy unchanged, as widely expected, keeping the range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 0.25% and repeating that "exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate are likely to be warranted at least through mid-2015".

The Federal Reserve also decided to continue its program of buying $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities each month, known as QE3 or QE+, until the labor market improves "substantially" as the central bank repeated that the "unemployment rate remains elevated."

The Fed maintained its Operation Twist program of swapping $45 billion securities of short-term securities into longer-term Treasurys in an effort to put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative.

Fed officials said that the economy continued to expand "at a moderate pace," noting that household spending "has advanced a bit more quickly, but growth in business fixed investment has slowed". Meanwhile, the Fed changed its description on inflation saying that it has "recently picked up" from "subdued," due to higher commodity prices, though the Fed said inflation expectations remain stable.

Richmond Fed President Jeffrey M. Lacker was the only dissenter, opposing to additional asset purchases and also the description of how long the Fed should keep rates low.