Washington (AFP) - The Federal Reserve's rate-setting committee began meeting Wednesday, a spokesperson said, hours after polls closed in the US presidential election which remains undecided.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is not expected to address the election in its two-day regularly scheduled meeting, nor is it predicted to change interest rates that were slashed to near-zero earlier this year as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the US economy.
However analysts will be watching the committee's statement and Fed Chair Jerome Powell's press conference on Thursday to see if central bank leaders again make their case that the world's largest economy needs more stimulus to aid its recovery after Congress failed to pass a spending bill before the election.
"We expect the FOMC will maintain its extremely accommodative monetary policy stance at its policy meeting... holding off any new initiatives," Oxford Economics said in a research note.
"The overlap between the meeting and the US election and the deteriorating health situation will favor a wait-and-see approach given the uncertain fiscal policy outlook."
Voters on Tuesday went to polls to decided whether to give President Donald Trump a second term in office or replace him with his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
Results thus far show Biden ahead in electoral votes even as Trump prematurely declared victory and sought Supreme Court intervention to stop vote-counting.
Also on the ballot were Senate races in several states, which could reconfigure the Republican-controlled body and perhaps break the months-long deadlock with Democrats over the stimulus bill.
However Democratic candidates were behind in several races, narrowing their chances of gaining control of the chamber and pushing through a stimulus package when the new Congress is inaugurated in January.