Federal Reserve officials at the most recent meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee “expressed greater confidence” of a sustained economic recovery, strengthening gradually in the “coming quarters” based on economic indicators and business contacts, according to the minutes of the latest FOMC meeting, released Wednesday.

“Although business contacts remained somewhat cautious about the economic outlook, they generally indicated greater optimism regarding their own prospects for sales and hiring than at the time of the previous meeting,” the minutes noted.

Downside risks to the economy diminished, but participants did not change their views of economic activity or inflation much, seeing real gross-domestic product growth picking up slightly and inflation remaining subdued.

While “a few members” were “unsure” about the asset purchase program's impact on the economy, they felt making a change now “was not appropriate.”

“In addition, the committee reiterated its expectation that economic conditions were likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate for an extended period,” the minutes said.

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