The US Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it has kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.25% in its last scheduled meeting in 2020. 

The central bank said economic activity and employment have continued to recover but remain well below their levels at the beginning of the year.

“Weaker demand and earlier declines in oil prices have been holding down consumer price inflation,” the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) said in its statement.

“Overall financial conditions remain accommodative, in part reflecting policy measures to support the economy and the flow of credit to US households and businesses,” it added.

The Fed stressed that the path of American economy will depend significantly on the course of the novel coronavirus.

It said COVID-19 continues to put pressure on economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near-term, in addition to posing considerable risks to the economic outlook over the medium-term.

The FOMC said it seeks to achieve maximum employment and inflation at the rate of 2% over long-term, noting it will maintain its accommodative stance of monetary policy until this target is achieved.

The Fed held two emergency unscheduled meetings on March 3 and March 15, lowering its benchmark interest rate to historically low levels in order to respond to the economic slowdown caused by COVID-19.

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