The Federal Reserve is expected to maintain its massive bond-buying campaign when it concludes a two-day meeting on Wednesday and may point to softer readings on the U.S. economy to signal that the policy will be extended into 2014.
The central bank, which will announce its policy decision at 2 p.m. (1800 GMT), has held interest rates near zero since late 2008 and has quadrupled the size of its balance sheet to more than $3.7 trillion through three rounds of bond buying. The purchases are aimed at holding down longer-term borrowing costs.
It shocked markets in September by opting to keep buying bonds at an unchanged pace, after allowing a perception to harden over the summer that it was ready to start scaling back the purchases. Its caution has since been vindicated.
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