US Interest Rates Left Unchanged by Federal Reserve

The US central bank has decided not to raise interest rates, keeping them at the same level they have been at since December 2008.

The Federal Reserve made it clear that concerns over the strength of the global economy had influenced its decision not to lift rates.

Nine members of its key policymaking committee voted to hold the federal funds rate target at 0 to 0.25%.

One committee member, Jeffrey Lacker, favoured a 0.25 percentage point rise.

BBC reports that the Federal Open Market Committee, in a statement, said: "Recent global economic and financial developments may restrain economic activity somewhat and are likely to put further downward pressure on inflation in the near term."

Signs of weaker growth and stock market turmoil in China have led to fears among investors about US economic growth.

"We've long expected to see some slowing in Chinese growth over time as they rebalance their economy. There are no surprises there. The question is whether or not there will be a risk of a more abrupt slowdown than most analysts expect," Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen said at a press conference.