Traders keep bets on extended Fed policy pause

(Reuters) - U.S. short-term interest rate futures were slightly lower Wednesday after the Federal Reserve held interest rates steady and signaled most policymakers see little chance they will need to tweak borrowing costs until after next year’s presidential election.

The Fed had been widely expected to keep rates in the range of 1.5% to 1.75% at its two-day meeting that wrapped up Wednesday, its last policy meeting of the year. Projections that accompanied the announcement showed no policymakers thought lower rates would be appropriate next year; the majority expected no change to rates in 2020, and just four expect a single rate hike.

After the report, bets placed in futures contracts tied to the Fed’s policy rate continued to reflect expectations that the U.S. central bank will leave rates where they are until next September, when it will, in the view of traders, deliver another rate cut to shore up economic growth.

Reporting by Ann Saphir; editing by Jonathan Oatis