Fed upbeat on U.S. economy, cites strong job gains
By Michael Flaherty and Howard Schneider WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve on Wednesday said the U.S. economy was expanding “at a solid pace” with strong job gains in a signal that the central bank remains on track with its plans to raise interest rates this year. The Fed repeated it would be “patient” in deciding when to raise benchmark borrowing costs from zero, though it also acknowledged a decline in certain inflation measures. After a two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, policymakers struck an upbeat tone on the U.S. economy's prospects and held to their view that energy-led weakness in inflation would dissipate. “The committee, in fact, was downright bullish on current economic conditions and the outlook,” said Paul Edelstein, director of financial economics at IHS Global Insight.