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Fed keeps rates steady, signals one hike by year-end

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The Fed said the us job market has strengthened and economic activity has picked up but business investment is soft and inflation too low.

On balance she expressed more concerns about the threat of overheating, saying the current pace of job creation, at 180,000 a month, "is not sustainable over the longer run".

The US central bank's decision followed Bank of Japan's decision to maintained its 0.1% negative interest rate.

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"We do not discuss politics at our meetings and we do not take politics into account in our decisions".

That language suggests the Fed believes the US economy has sailed safely through headwinds that anxious officials earlier this year, including possible damage from Great Britain's vote to exit the European Union.

The three dissidents, all of whom voted in favor of raising interest rates by a quarter-point in September, were Esther George, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City; Loretta Mester, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland; and Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

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"The economy has every target that they set and we have an inappropriate level of interest rates, which is distorting asset prices, blowing bubbles and will eventually end up with inflation".

"[Dr Yellen] would not be specific on dates, but it seems she is setting the market up for the likelihood of a December hike, subject to a still growing economy, stable markets, and overseas developments", senior economist at NAB David de Garis wrote in a note to clients.

Here's the new dot plot, along with June's projections. In the base metals, the most active Comex copper contract was at $2.1475 per pound, down 1.1 cents.

The forecasts have changed in part because the Fed has reassessed its view of the economy's longer term outlook and formed the judgment that rates will need to be lower to keep growth on an even keel. Markets, which were up ahead of the Fed statement Wednesday, rose higher after the news. "If we continue on this course, it likely will be appropriate to raise the Fed Funds rates", Yellen said.

The Fed last raised interest rates in December.

Fed officials had been concerned about global developments, particularly the Brexit vote and a slowdown in China. The data also show faltering worldwide trade which hurts economic growth. But low interest rates also encourage businesses to borrow more money, which should mean they're more likely to invest in new projects and hire more people, which can lift the economy as a whole.

This was partly reflected by declines in energy prices and in prices of non-energy imports, it mentioned. The Fed's preferred measure of inflation, core PCE, has remained at 1.6% year-over-year since March; a preliminary estimate for July is the most recent data available. In June it forecast growth of 2%.

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