Fed Says Recovery is 'Moderate'


"A pickup in inflation is likely to be temporary, says Fed."

Federal Reserve policy makers said the economy is recovering at a "moderate pace" and a pickup in inflation is likely to be temporary, as they agreed to finish $600 billion of bond purchases on schedule in June.

"The economic recovery is proceeding at a moderate pace and overall conditions in the labor market are improving gradually," the Federal Open Market Committee said today in its statement after a two-day meeting in Washington. "Increases in the prices of energy and other commodities have pushed up inflation in recent months," and the Fed expects "these effects to be transitory," the statement said.

Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has signaled he'll maintain record stimulus until job growth accelerates and the recovery is robust enough to withstand tighter credit. The Fed chief has said he expects that a surge this year in fuel and food costs will have only a passing inflationary impact, differing with Fed regional bank presidents who say borrowing costs may need to rise to contain prices.

Stocks and yields on 10-year Treasuries rose after the statement. The Fed, discussing its securities portfolio, said it "is prepared to adjust those holdings as needed to best foster maximum employment and price stability." Bernanke will discuss the FOMC statement and the panel's updated economic projections today at his first news conference, scheduled to begin at 2:15 p.m. in Washington.

The Fed left its benchmark interest rate in a range of zero to 0.25 percent, where it's been since December 2008, and retained a pledge in place since March 2009 to keep it "exceptionally low" for an "extended period." The central bank will keep reinvesting proceeds of maturing mortgage debt purchased in the first round of large-scale asset purchases that lasted from December 2008 to March 2010.

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