(AGI) Washington, Sept 17 - The U.S. Federal Reserve has leftinterest rates unchanged at the historic low of zero to 0.25percent, at which the cost of the U.S currency has been fixedsince December 2008. The central bank said in its officialpress release on Thursday that the Federal Open MarketCommittee (FOMC) will raise the rates "when it has seen somefurther improvement in the labor market and is reasonablyconfident that inflation will move back to its 2 percentobjective over the medium term". The Fed noted that the U.S.economy is expanding at a moderate rate, with improvements inthe labour market and a drop in unemployment. The Committee'sdecision was approved with nine votes out of ten, with JeffreyLacker believing interest rates should be raised by a quarterpercent. "When the Committee decides to begin to remove policyaccommodation, it will take a balanced approach consistent withits longer-run goals," the statement said. "The Committeecurrently anticipates that, even after employment and inflationare near mandate-consistent levels, economic conditions may,for some time, warrant keeping the target federal funds ratebelow levels the Committee views as normal in the longer run."The Fed noted that "household spending and business fixedinvestment have been increasing moderately, and the housingsector has improved further; however, net exports have beensoft." "The labor market continued to improve" over theassessed period, "with solid job gains and decliningunemployment. On balance, labor market indicators show thatunderutilization of labor resources has diminished since earlythis year. Inflation has continued to run below the Committee'slonger-run objective, partly reflecting declines in energyprices and in prices of non-energy imports." "Recent globaleconomic and financial developments may restrain economicactivity somewhat and are likely to put further downwardpressure on inflation in the near term," the Fed added. "TheCommittee continues to see the risks to the outlook foreconomic activity and the labor market as nearly balanced butis monitoring developments abroad." The Fed's decision toremain cautious may have been influenced by the uncertaintyfuelled by the recent stock market crash in China.. .