Fed Leaves Rates Unchanged While Expressing Upbeat Outlook

The U.S. Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged on Wednesday and downplayed weak first-quarter economic growth while emphasizing the strength of the labor market, in a sign it was still on track for two more rate rises this year.

In a bullish statement following the end of a two-day policy meeting, the central bank also said consumer spending continued to be solid, business investment had firmed and inflation has been “running close” to the Fed’s target.

“The committee views the slowing in growth during the first quarter as likely to be transitory,” the Fed said in a unanimous statement.

The labor market continued to strengthen even as growth in economic activity slowed and “the fundamentals underpinning the continued growth of consumption remained solid,” policymakers added.

The Fed raised its benchmark rate by a quarter percentage point at its last meeting in March to a target range of 0.75 percent to

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