REUTERS "Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in January suggests that economic activity has been expanding at a moderate pace despite the global economic and financial developments of recent months. Household spending has been increasing at a moderate rate, and the housing sector has improved further; however, business fixed investment and net exports have been soft. A range of recent indicators, including strong job gains, points to additional strengthening of the labor market. Inflation picked up in recent months; however, it continued to run below the Committee&#39;s 2% longer-run objective, partly reflecting declines in energy prices and in prices of non-energy imports," the Federal Reserve said in its statement. The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting further improvement in labor market conditions and a return to 2% inflation, as noted in the statement. As UNIAN reported earlier, the U.S. Federal Reserve on December 17raised its key interest rate from 0-0.25% to 0.25-0.5%.