Top officials of the U.S. central bank will offer a closely watched assessment of the world's largest economy Wednesday afternoon.
Economists surveyed by news organizations say the Federal Reserve is almost certain to keep the key U.S. interest rate steady in an ultra-low range (of zero to 0.25 percent).
Low interest rates and efforts to boost the amount of loan money available are all part of a package of Fed measures intended to get the battered U.S. economy growing again. Fed officials have said the effort seems to be working, and they have cut back some of the emergency lending measures.
As the economy continues recovering, investors expect the Fed eventually to raise interest rates to keep the economy from overheating and sparking damaging inflation.
Investors will be carefully reading Wednesday's Fed statement on the economy for hints about when interest rates are likely to rise. Many economists say that may not happen until late this year or early next year.