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U.S. Fed chief hints at new monetary steps to boost recovery

(Xinhua)

08:19, April 26, 2012

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke answers questions during a press conference at the Federal Reserve building, on April 25, 2012 in Washington D.C. The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced that it will keep the current ultra-loose monetary policy to sustain economic recovery. (Xinhua/Fang Zhe)

WASHINGTON, April 25 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday exuded frustration with the slow labor market recovery and hinted that the central bank was poised to take further moves to boost economic growth.

The U.S. economy has been expanding "moderately" and labor market conditions have improved in recent months. The unemployment rate has declined but remains elevated, said the central bank in a statement after its two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting that concluded on Wednesday.

The U.S. unemployment rate remained high at a level of 8.2 percent although it has edged down by about 1 percentage point since last August, and highly accommodative monetary policy is necessary given the backdrop of slow and frustrating labor market recovery, Bernanke said at the fifth press conference after the FOMC meetings.

In a bid to enhance the Fed's transparency and its policy effectiveness, the Fed last year launched the quarterly press conference, the first such effort in the Fed's one-century history.

Household spending and business fixed investment have continued to advance. Despite some signs of improvement, the housing sector remains depressed, noted participants of the FOMC meeting, the powerful interest-rate setting panel. It decided to keep its current ultra-loose monetary policy to sustain economic recovery.

The Fed reaffirmed its policy decision to keep the exceptionally low levels of federal funds rate, currently in the range of 0-0.25 percent, at least through late 2014 to support economic recovery.

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