The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at the record-low level of near zero amid growing concerns over surging inflation and the rapid spread of the Delta variant.
"The path of the economy continues to depend on the course of the virus. Progress on vaccinations will likely continue to reduce the effects of the public health crisis on the economy, but risks to the economic outlook remain," the Fed said in a statement after concluding a two-day meeting.
While indicators of U.S. economic activity and employment "have continued to strengthen," the sectors most adversely affected by the pandemic "have not fully recovered," the Fed said.
The Fed also noted that the U.S. economy "has made progress" toward its goals of maximum employment and price stability since December, and the central bank will continue to assess progress in coming meetings.
The Fed has pledged to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at the record-low level of near zero, while continuing its asset purchase program at least at the current pace of 120 billion U.S. dollars per month until "substantial further progress" has been made on employment and inflation.