Fed expected to maintain pace of economic stimulus

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Reserve is widely expected to stay the course today on its bond-buying economic stimulus efforts amid continued uncertainty about the economy's health and the government's budget fight.

That expectation marks a reversal from just six weeks ago, when almost everyone expected the Fed to start trimming its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases. It chose not to and since then, a 16-day partial government shutdown shaved an estimated $25 billion from economic growth this quarter. A batch of tepid economic data pointed to a still-subpar economy.

The bond buying is intended to keep long-term interest rates low to help the economy rebound from the Great Recession.

The Fed is to announce its decision in a statement today after a two-day policy meeting.

Many analysts now predict the Fed will maintain the pace of its bond purchases into next year.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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