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US Federal Reserve leaves interest rates unchanged

Washington, Nov 2 (IANS) The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday left its benchmark interest rates unchanged amid speculation about President Donald Trump’s appointment of next Fed chair.

The US labor market “has continued to strengthen” and economic activity “has been rising at a solid rate” despite hurricane-related disruptions, the Fed’s policy-making committee said in a statement released after its two-day meeting, Xinhua news agency reported.

Citing past experiences, the central bank said the hurricanes, which hit the Gulf Coast in late August and September, are “unlikely to materially alter the course of the national economy over the medium term.”

The US economy grew at an annual rate of 3 per cent in the third quarter of the year, slightly lower than the 3.1 per cent in the previous quarter, the Commerce Department reported last week.

In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the central bank decided to maintain its target range for the federal funds rate at 1 to 1.25 per cent.

The Fed meeting comes a day before Trump is expected to announce his pick to lead the bank, BBC reported.

He is widely reported to be planning to replace Fed Chair Janet Yellen with another Fed governor, Jerome Powell.

On Wednesday, Trump declined to say if he would replace Yellen, saying: “She’s excellent.”

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