WASHINGTON — As the economic situation remained about unchanged from the fall, the Federal Open Market Committee agreed to a new round of asset purchases but was divided on how long to pursue the strategy, according to the minutes of the committee's Dec. 11-12 meeting, released Thursday.

After agreeing to continue purchasing mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month and longer-term Treasury securities at an initial pace of $45 billion per month after the final expiration of Operation Twist, members could not agree on how long that easing should go on.

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