Fed: Economic recovery is slowing

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The Federal Reserve Wednesday acknowledged a slowing of the U.S. economic recovery as it renewed its vow to hold benchmark interest rates exceptionally low for an extended period.

In a statement at the end of a two-day meeting, the Fed scaled back its assessment of the pace of recovery, taking note of pockets of weakness, and also issued a cautionary note about volatile financial markets in light of Europe's debt woes, according to media reports.

But it stuck to its expectation that the economy will continue to gradually emerge from the worst recession in decades.

"Financial conditions have become less supportive of economic growth on balance, largely reflecting developments abroad," the central bank said in a statement.

As expected, the Fed held overnight rates in the zero to 0.25 percent range set in December 2008 as the central bank fought the deep recession and virulent financial crisis.

A report on Wednesday showing new single-family home sales plunged to a record low in May after a popular homebuyer tax credit expired dealt a setback to hopes for a speedy pickup in growth.

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