federal reserve

By Jim Puzzanghera
October 29, 2014

Federal Reserve policymakers voted Wednesday to end the central bank’s controversial bond-buying stimulus program, determining the economy is strong enough to remove the unprecedented support.

The Fed also kept its benchmark short-term interest rate near 0%, where it has been since late 2008.

Both moves were expected as the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee ended a two-day meeting.

Still, with Middle East tensions and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa triggering financial market turmoil and dropping oil prices, there was speculation the Fed might continue the stimulus program.

But Fed Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen and other central bank policymakers held to earlier comments that they planned to end the program this month.

“The Committee judges that there has been a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market since the inception of its current asset purchase program,” according to a Fed statement.

The economy “is expanding at a moderate pace” and inflation continues to run below the Fed’s annual target of 2%, the statement said.

Policymakers also reiterated that they planned to keep the central bank’s interest rate near 0% for “a considerable time” following the end of the bond-buying program. Analysts expect the first interest rate hike to come around the middle of next year.

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