Fed says it will stick with aggressive stimulus

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WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve on Wednesday stood by its efforts to keep borrowing costs at record lows, saying it isn’t yet convinced that the U.S. economy’s growth can accelerate without significant help from the central bank.

It wants to see sustained improvement.

Fed officials reinforced their plan to keep short-term interest rates at rock-bottom levels at least until unemployment falls to 6.5 percent.

An unemployment rate of 6.5 percent is a threshold, not a “trigger,” for a possible rate increase, Chairman Ben Bernanke said.

The Fed will continue buying $85 billion a month in bonds indefinitely to keep long-term borrowing costs down. Bernanke said the Fed might vary the size of its monthly purchases depending on whether the job market improves and by how much.

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