"The economic recovery is continuing at a moderate pace, though somewhat more slowly" than they had expected, policymakers at the Federal Reserve just reported.
In a statement issued at the conclusion of their latest meetings, the central bankers said that data collected since April indicate that growth has been hurt by:
— "Higher food and energy prices" that are cutting into consumer spending.
— "Supply chain disruptions associated with the tragic events in Japan."
— A housing sector that "continues to be depressed."
On the plus side, policymakers expect "the pace of recovery to pick up over coming quarters and the unemployment rate to resume its gradual decline."
As for Fed policy: It is keeping the "target range" for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and will "complete its purchases of $600 billion of longer-term Treasury securities by the end of this month" in a bid to give the economy a lift.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is due to take questions from reporters at 2:15 p.m. ET.