Fed holds rates again


The US Federal Reserve has voted to keep interest rates at 5.25 per cent for the second successive month, pointing to easing inflationary pressures thanks to rising energy prices.

All but one of the open market committee's 11 members voted for the hold, with the sole dissenter Jeffrey Lacker preferring to raise rates one quarter of a per cent.

Last month the Fed broke a two-year cycle of successive rates hikes when it voted to keep rates at their present level, owing mainly to a slowdown in the country's property market.

"The moderation in economic growth appears to be continuing, partly reflecting a cooling of the housing market," the bank's most recent statement said.

"However, inflation pressures seem likely to moderate over time, reflecting reduced impetus from energy prices, contained inflation expectations, and the cumulative effects of monetary policy actions and other factors restraining aggregate demand," it added.

Analysts had widely predicted that rates would be kept at their current levels, with the Fed looking to consolidate its position in a more relaxed global economic climate, thanks largely to falling oil prices as conflicts around the world eased.

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