30 Apr 2009

Fed maintains key rate

7:36 am on 30 April 2009

The Federal Reserve says the pace of deterioration in the US economy appeared to be slowing, but it will continue to keep interest rates exceptionally low for an extended period.

After a two-day policy meeting, the Fed said on Wednesday it decided to hold overnight interest rates in the zero - 0.25% range set in December.

In March, the Fed said it would buy $US1.2 trillion of government debt to expand money supply.

Earlier this month, both President Barack Obama and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said the recession was easing.

Meanwhile, official data showed GDP fell 6.1% in the first three months of 2009, led by a sharp fall in exports.