Fed to keep interest rate near zero for 2 years

WASHINGTON (AP) – Aug. 9, 2011 – The Federal Reserve said Tuesday that it will likely keep interest rates at record lows for the next two years after acknowledging that the U.S. economy is weaker than it had thought and faces increasing risks.

The Fed announced that it expects to keep its key interest rate near zero through mid-2013. It has been at that record low since December 2008. The Fed had previously only said that it would keep it low for “an extended period.”

Fed policymakers used significantly more downbeat language to describe current economic conditions. It said so far this year the economy has grown “considerably slower” than the Fed had expected. They also said that temporary factors, such as high energy prices and the Japan crisis, only accounted for “some of the recent weakness” in economic activity.

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