Fed stays the monetary policy course

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced it would stick with its stimulus-heavy monetary policy.

As expected, the central bank made no changes to its policy, saying it needed more information about the stability of the economic recovery before pulling back on its support. The Fed is continuing to buy $85 billion of bonds to lower borrowing costs while keeping interest rates near zero.

The statement from the October meeting largely mirrored the one coming after its September huddle, both of which mentioned that fiscal policy from Washington was impeding the recovery. The biggest change in the October statement came on the housing front, where the Fed said the market had slowed in recent months after saying it was strengthening.

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Nonetheless, the Fed said it still sees the economy and job market to be slowly improving, despite fiscal drama from federal policymakers. The latest statement from the Fed made no mention of the 16-day government shutdown or drama surrounding the debt limit, and noted that the federal government had been undergoing “fiscal retrenchment” over the last year.

The Fed was widely expected to begin tapering its monthly purchases of bonds in September, but surprised markets when it announced it was sticking with the policy. At the time, the central bank said it needed more evidence that the economy was on solid footing.

No major changes were expected from October’s statement primarily because the shutdown delayed the release of key economic indicators. Fed officials had said they were going to rely heavily on incoming data to inform any policy moves.