The Federal Reserve moved Wednesday to hold its key interest rate steady amid what it said is “tremendous human and economic hardship across” the US caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The fed was widely expected to continue to maintain its benchmark interest rate between 0-0.25%, keeping it at Great Recession levels.

The Federal Open Market Committee statement said the rate would remain in place “until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve its maximum employment and price stability goals.”

It noted that while there have been improvements in economic activity and employment, they remain “well below” pre-pandemic levels.

The decision comes as the US remains in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic. Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows the US with the worst outbreak worldwide with over 4.3 million confirmed infections and nearly 150,000 COVID-19-related fatalities.

Wall Street reacted positively to the Fed’s decision with the Dow up over 100 points and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq each post gains of over 1%.

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