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Fed to further slow pace of stimulus

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve is further slowing the pace of its bond purchases because it thinks an improving US economy needs less help. But it’s offering no clearer hint of when it will start raising its benchmark short-term interest rate.

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In a statement after a policy meeting, the Fed says it’s paring its monthly purchases by another $10 billion to $25 billion. The bond purchases have been intended to keep long-term borrowing rates low and are set to end in October.

The Fed is reiterating its plan to keep short-term rates low ‘‘for a considerable time’’ after its bond purchases end. Most economists think a rate increase is about a year away despite a strengthening economy. The government says the economy grew at a fast 4 percent annual rate last quarter.

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