The Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that it was likely to raise interest rates at the end of 2014, but not until then, adding another 18 months to the expected duration of its most basic and longest-running response to the financial crisis.
The announcement means that the Fed does not expect the economy to complete its recovery from the 2008 crisis over the next three years. By holding short-term rates near zero beyond mid-2013, its previous estimate, the Fed hopes to hasten that process somewhat by reducing the cost of borrowing.
The Fed said in a statement that the economy had expanded “moderately” in recent weeks, but that unemployment remained at a high level, the housing sector remained in a deep depression, and the possibility of a new financial crisis in Europe continued to threaten the domestic economy.
The statement, released after a two-day meeting of the Fed’s policy-making committee, said that the Fed intended to keep rates near zero until late 2014.
In a separate set of statements, the Fed said that 11 of the 17 members of the committee expected that the Fed would raise interest rates at the end of that period. It noted that the committee expects growth to accelerate over the next three years, from a maximum pace of 2.7 percent this year to a maximum pace of 3.2 percent next year and up to 4 percent in 2014.