Fed signals vote of confidence in economy

August 12, 2009 11:29:19 AM PDT
The Federal Reserve delivered a vote of confidence in the recovery on Wednesday, declaring that economic activity is "leveling out." The central bank also signaled that it would end one of its programs aimed at propping up the economy, and kept a key lending rate at a record low. The Fed said it would gradually slow the pace of its program to buy $300 billion worth of Treasury securities so that it will shut down at the end of October, versus September. It has bought $253 billion worth of Treasury securities so far.

The program is aimed at lowering rates on mortgages and other consumer debt, a move to spur Americans to spend more. But its effectiveness has been questioned by some on Wall Street and on Capitol Hill who worry that the program makes it look like the Fed is printing money to pay for Uncle Sam's exploding deficits.

With the economy on the mend, the Fed held a key banking lending rate at a record low near zero and again pledged to keep it there for "an extended period."

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