NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The dollar remained weak against its main trading partners Wednesday, after the Federal Reserve issued an unsurprising policy statement and Fed chair Ben Bernanke offered little salve for inflation jitters.
The Fed said in its policy statement that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover at a slow pace and that the job market is improving. However, as expected, the bankers voted to hold interest rates at historic lows near 0%, where it's been since December 2008.
While it acknowledged that inflation has picked up recently, the Fed said it expects prices to remain tame over the long term and that the recovery won't be derailed.
"A strong economy is going to be good for the dollar," Bernanke said at the first of a series of four press conferences the Fed chief plans to hold. "The policies we are undertaking will lead to a strong and stable dollar in the medium term."
The dollar index, which gauges the currency against a basket of its main trading partners, slid 0.5% to 73.5. The index is down about 7% so far this year and is at its lowest levels since July 2008.
The dollar fell 0.9% against the euro, holding near the lowest levels since the end of 2009. It was also down 0.9% versus the British pound, after the U.K. government reported economic growth that was in line with expectations.
But the dollar continued to hold gains against the Japanese yen, rising 0.7%. The dollar had risen against the Japanese currency earlier in the day after Standard & Poor's warned that it could lower Japan's credit rating within the next few years.
The agency lowered its outlook for Japan to "negative" from "stable," saying the cost of repairing the damage caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami will weigh on the government.
Traders said the Australian dollar hit a record high against the U.S. dollar after inflation data in the antipodean nation raised speculation about an interest rate hike by the Royal Bank of Australia.
|Overnight Avg Rate||Latest||Change||Last Week|
|30 yr fixed||3.75%||3.66%|
|15 yr fixed||2.89%||2.79%|
|30 yr refi||3.74%||3.64%|
|15 yr refi||2.89%||2.79%|
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