Fed maintains stimulus program, lowers growth forecasts

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 (Yonhap) -- The Federal Reserve on Wednesday left its stimulus program intact, contrary to market expectations, saying the U.S. economy is forecast to grow more slowly than expected.

After two days of a Federal Open Market Committee meeting, Fed policymakers decided to continue to spend $85 billon per month for asset purchases and held the federal funds rate range at 0-0.25 percent.

Their decision apparently reflects an assessment that the U.S. economy still has a way to go for full-fledged recovery, although economic activity has been "expanding at a moderate pace."

The Federal Reserve cut its U.S. economic growth forecasts for 2013 and 2014.

It predicted that the economy will grow just 2 percent to 2.3 percent this year, down from its June forecast of 2.3 percent to 2.6 percent.

Next year's growth is projected to stand at 2.9-3.1 percent, down from the previous outlook of 3-3.5 percent, it said.

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