The Federal Reserve on Wednesday decreased its 2014 growth forecast for the U.S. economy to a range of 2.1 percent to 2.3 percent, down from the 2.9 percent expected earlier this year, The Washington Post reported.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the decrease was largely the result of a bad winter in which the economy shrank by 1 percent. But, the central bank kept its estimate of the rate of growth next year unchanged at 3 percent to 3.2 percent.
The Federal Reserve also voted unanimously to cut its bond-buying program to $35 billion per month from $45 billion, effective in July. The Fed has has purchased more than $1 trillion in long-term bonds over the past year and a half in an effort to bring down long-term interest rates.
The central bank also hinted at a slightly more aggressive pace of interest rate increases starting next year, Reuters reported. The Fed's policy statement changed little from its last meeting in April, which said that interest rates would remain near zero "for a considerable time" after the bond buying ends.
Officials hinted that rates should begin rising next year, and a median projection of 16 officials projected rates at the end of 2015 to be 1.125 percent, up from their projection in March. They also projected a 2016 year-end rate of 2.5 percent, up from their projection of 2.25 percent in April.
But overall forecasts were more dispersed than they had been three months ago, signaling that the projections are not a sign of an emerging consensus.