The Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) wrapped up a two-day policy meeting by announcing that it will increase policy accommodation by purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke held a news conference to further explain this and other policy actions the Fed is taking.
At the June FOMC meeting, the Fed announced that it would hold interest rates steady, due to continued high unemployment and low inflation. The "Operation Twist" program to buy longer dated securities was also extended, with $267 billion in additional spending. The Fed continues to characterize the economy as "expanding moderately."
The Chairman also told reporters in June that the housing market remains sluggish, which in turn slows the overall economic recovery. He noted that tight budgets at the state and local government level are causing slow growth as well, because of their affect on employment and planning among agencies and contractors.
The FOMC consists of twelve members, including the seven members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The group holds eight meetings per year to review economic and financial conditions, determine monetary policy, assess the goals of price stability and review current economic growth.