The Federal Reserve refrained from increasing its $1.75 trillion bond-purchase program, saying the pace of economic contraction is slowing and predicted inflation will remain "subdued for some time."

"Substantial resource slack is likely to dampen cost pressures, and the Committee expects that inflation will remain subdued for some time," the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement after a two-day meeting in Washington where it also kept the benchmark interest rate between zero and 0.25 percent.

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