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Interest rates unchanged, Fed signals lower rate path

The Federal Reserve kept U.S. interest rates unchanged Wednesday and signaled it still planned two hikes this year, although a slowing economic growth path for 2016 and 2017 prompted a downgrade in where the U.S. central bank thought rates would peak.

Yellen gave no clues as to whether a rate hike could come as early as the Fed’s next rate-setting meeting in July, or whether the central bank would wait for a slew of firmer data as it headed into its September meeting. Markets have all but priced out any rate rise in 2016 .

Financial markets all but priced out a rate increase this year after the Fed statement, and U.S. short-term interest rate futures contracts rose.

The Fed has implemented just one rate rise in a decade and its target range for overnight lending rates between banks remained between 0.25 percent and 0.5 percent.