WASHINGTON, July 31 (UPI) -- The U.S. Federal Reserve said Wednesday it would stay the course with current monetary policy until the labor market improves.
The Fed's Open Market Committee elected to push onward with its $85 billion-per-month pace for asset purchases, which are in place to put downward pressure on interest rates. It would also maintain the low overnight lending rate of zero to 0.25 percent.
Investors have been keeping a sharp lookout for hints of change. In late June, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said there was a chance the Fed could unwind its asset purchasing program by the end of 2014.
The remark jolted markets and Fed officials went into damage control, quickly asserting that Fed policy changes would depend on improved market conditions.
"The committee is prepared to increase or reduce the pace of its purchases to maintain appropriate policy accommodation as the outlook for the labor market or inflation changes," the Fed said Wednesday.
"In determining the size, pace, and composition of its asset purchases, the committee will continue to take appropriate account of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases as well as the extent of progress toward its economic objectives."