By Jonathan Davies

The US Federal Reserve has again indicated that it is likely to raise interest rates later this year.

The central bank's decision makers unanimously agreed to keep interest rates on hold for the time being, but believe the US economy is getting stronger, and more importantly, strong enough to cope with a rate rise.

Earlier this month, head of the Fed, Janet Yellen, said a rise was likely this year, but admitted that the country's job market needed to improve.

"Economic activity has been expanding moderately in recent months," the Fed said in a statement after this month's decision.

It noted that the jobs market, and housing and consumer spending had all improved. Unemployment is now at 5.3% - its lowest for seven years.

But the Fed stressed that interest rates would be raised "when it has seen some further improvement in the labor market and is reasonably confident that inflation will move back to its 2 percent objective".