Fed Is Likely to Maintain Status Quo in December Meeting

The Federal Reserve is expected to maintain the current target interest rate of 0% to 0.25% when it meets Tuesday and Wednesday. We'll know for sure when the Federal Open Market Committee releases its policy statement around 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday.

But with the unemployment rate at 10% and analysts predicting it will barely drop to 9.9% by the third quarter of 2010, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would be committing political suicide if he raised rates now, just as Congress decides whether or not to support his second term as chairman. Nor do analysts expect the Fed to speed up withdrawal of its special lending and purchase programs, which have kept the financial markets out of even worse trouble during the crisis.