Fed stays the course, cuts stimulus by $10B

The Federal Reserve stayed the course Wednesday on its gradual exit from economic stimulus, trimming its monthly bond purchases to $25 billion.

The latest $10 billion cut — the sixth straight — to its quantitative easing program keeps the Fed on pace to wrap up its stimulus efforts in October.

Still, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement cautioned that "asset purchases are not on a preset course," and could be adjusted if conditions in the economy change.

"The committee's decisions about their pace will remain contingent on the committee's outlook for the labor market and inflation as well as its assessment of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases," the FOMC said.

The Fed didn't flinch from its plans to keep interest rates near zero “for a considerable time” after it wraps up its monthly asset purchases, "especially if projected inflation continues to run below the committee's 2 percent longer-run goal, and provided that longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored."

The Fed didn't provide details on when interest rates might be allowed to rise. 

Fed officials noted that since their last meeting in June, "economic activity rebounded in the second quarter." 

While the labor market has continued to show improvement and unemployment has dropped, there still "remains significant underutilization of labor resources," they said.

Overall, the officials see household spending rising moderately and business fixed investment advancing, while the recovery in the housing sector remains slow. 

They said that inflation has moved somewhat closer to the committee's longer-run objective of 2 percent, although "longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable."

Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser dissented from the policy statement, objecting to the guidance that a rate increase was “time dependent.”

Plosser said the language "does not reflect the considerable economic progress that has been made toward the committee's goals."