US Federal Reserve refrains from interest rate rise

The Federal Reserve has decided to keep US interest rates unchanged after its latest meeting.

The decision leaves short-term interest rates at record lows of 0% to 0.25%, the same level they have been at since December 2008.

The decision came as little surprise to the markets, although the Fed has previously signalled that rates are likely to rise within months.

The Fed said the US economy was still expanding at a moderate pace.

Share of gold mining firms were up earlier in the day on the expectation that the central bank would hold off on a rate rise this time.

In a statement, the Fed said it was continuing to watch the global economy and domestic labour market for signs of strength.

“The Committee continues to see the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labour market as nearly balanced, but is monitoring global economic and financial developments,” the statement added.

In a repeat of September’s vote, nine members of the board – including chairwoman Janet Yellen – voted to keep rates the same. One, Jeffrey Lacker from the Federal Reserve Bank at Richmond, voted for an increase.

The Fed gave few hints about when it will raise rates, but if it sticks to previous expectations that a rate increase will happen this year, it has only one more chance to do so, at its next meeting in December.