Federal Reserve leaves key policy rate unchanged

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve is leaving its key policy rate unchanged but signaling that it plans to keep responding to the strong U.S. economy with further rate hikes. The next Fed rate hike is expected in December.

The Fed left its benchmark rate in a range of 2 percent to 2.25 percent. A statement it issued after its latest policy meeting portrayed the economy as robust, with healthy job growth, low unemployment, solid consumer spending and inflation near the Fed's 2 percent target.

Despite a U.S. trade war with key nations, weaker corporate investment and a sluggish housing market, the Fed is expressing confidence in the economy's resilience. To help control inflation, it has projected three rate increases in 2019 after an expected fourth hike of the year next month.

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