The Fed repeated that strains in the global market pose a significant risk to the U.S. economy, the housing market is improving but remains depressed and inflation remains tame. Policymakers also repeated their plan to hold short-term interest rates at record-low levels until at least late 2014.
Most economists say the Fed could launch another program of buying government bonds and mortgage-backed securities at its September meeting if the economy doesn't show improvement. The goal of the program, known as quantitative easing, would be to drive long-term rates, which are already at record lows, even lower.
"The Fed took no action at this meeting but strongly hinted that there will be further easing action at the next meeting in September," said David Jones, chief economist at DMJ Advisors.
The statement was approved on an 11-1 vote. Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, dissented for a fifth time this year. He objected to the Fed including language in the statement about keeping short-term rates low until late 2014.
U.S. economic growth slowed to an annual rate of just 1.5 percent from April through June, down from a 2 percent rate in the first quarter.