In the last gathering of the Federal Reserve policy committee led by outgoing Chairman Ben Bernanke, the central bank announced it will curtail its money printing effort by another $10 billion, from $75 billion per month to $65 billion.
Short-term interest rates were left at between 0 and 0.25 percent and the Fed made clear they are likely to stay low for a very long time.
The policy statement contained no substantive changes from the December meeting as purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities were reduced from $35 billion per month to $30 billion and the buying of long-term Treasury securities will be lowered from $40 billion to $35 billion.
Chairman Ben Bernanke will step down on Friday, handing the reins of the central bank over to Vice Chair Janet Yellen and it seems that, in contrast to last fall, the policy committee did exactly what markets expected, perhaps in order to help smooth that transition.
The decision received unanimous backing from Fed policymakers that included new voting members Richard Fisher of the Dallas Fed, Narayana Kocherlakota of Minneapolis, Sandra Pianalto of St. Louis, and Charles Plosser from Philadelphia.
The last two policy statements are shown side-by-side below.