The Federal Reserve kept its near-zero benchmark interest rate unchanged Wednesday but said the US economy is growing moderately on the back of "solid" consumer spending and business investment.
In a slightly more positive policy statement than in September, the Fed also dropped its reference to the slow global economy posing a threat to US activity.
The Fed said it was still keeping an eye on global economic and financial developments, and also noted a recent slowdown in job creation and still-falling inflation.
But it retained confidence that the US labor market is improving and that inflation will move up toward its 2.0 percent target over the medium term "as the labor market improves further and the transitory effects of declines in energy and import prices dissipate."
The policy statement appeared to increase the possibility that the Federal Open Market Committee could embark on a series of rate hikes as early as December, after keeping the fed funds rate at the zero level since the end of 2008.
Prior to the statement, which came at the end of the FOMC's two-day policy meeting, many analysts and market players were looking to March for the first increase.