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US Federal Reserve Seeks to Boost Economy བོད་སྐད།

Top officials of the U.S. Federal Reserve (central bank) are meeting Wednesday to consider more ways to boost the struggling U.S. economy.

Some economists speculate that effort will include a program of buying long-term U.S. Treasury bonds, intended to ease borrowing costs for consumers and businesses.

The credit market is a key to economic growth, but it stalled when the U.S. housing market collapsed.

The Federal reserve is also expected to keep a key interest rate target at its current historically low level (a range of 0 - 0.25 percent).

Officials have some new data to consider as a report Wednesday shows U.S. consumer prices rose at the fastest rate since last July. February's four-tenths of a percent increase was driven by higher prices for gasoline and clothing.

A separate study of U.S. trade shows the gap between what Americans export and what they buy from foreign countries has narrowed. The current account deficit fell to just under $133 billion in the last few months of 2008.

Also Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama launched an effort to win support for his economic policies with a visit to California and an internet video sent to an extensive network of political supporters.

In the video Mr. Obama asks Americans to "knock on doors" and urge neighbors to support his budget. He also asked them to phone and write to members of congress urging them to vote for the spending plan.

The president's $3.6 trillion budget has been attacked by opposition Republicans for raising the federal deficit by spending and borrowing.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.