Handicapping the Fed's interest rate moves has always been a tricky business, but it's become especially difficult in recent months.
As expected, the Fed kept interest rates unchanged at 5,25% at its March 20-21 meeting and tried to strike a balance between the need to sustain growth and the importance of containing inflation, as the panel continued to take a wait-and-see approach, as it has since last June.
In its policy statement. the FOMC said "recent indicators have been mixed" but added that the "economy seems likely to continue to expand at a moderate pace over coming quarters" while "recent readings on core inflation have been somewhat elevated."
The FOMC concluded that the "predominant policy concern remains the risk that inflation will fail to moderate as expected."
The decision to drop language about further firming was widely interpreted by the markets as a move to a neutral position or bias.