The Federal Reserve decided to take no new monetary policy actions at its two-day meeting that ended Wednesday and underscored its worries about tepid economic growth and high unemployment.
- Economists had expected the Fed to take no action. The central bank launched a fresh round of bond-buying in September and is likely to continue to provide monetary stimulus to the economy in the months ahead.
- The Fed described the pace of economic activity as "moderate" and expressed concerns that strains in global financial markets could spread to the United States -- a reference to the crisis in Europe. The Fed repeated its fear that if growth does not pick up, the job market won't see "sustained improvement."
- By standing pat, the Fed avoided providing fresh fodder for its GOP critics in the immediate run-up to the election. The politically-independent central bank has been a target of Republicans, who warn that the unconventional policies the Fed has deployed during the recession and recovery risk running up inflation.
- Economists already see potential for policy action at the Fed’s next meeting, set for Dec. 11-12. The Fed’s maturity extension program, known as “Operation Twist,” is set to expire at the end of the year, and the Fed is expected to weigh possible replacements to that program. That meeting will be accompanied by updated economic forecasts and a press conference with Bernanke.