Vice chair: Global concerns led Fed to keep rates unchanged

WASHINGTON - A top Federal Reserve official says increased concerns about the global economic outlook led the central bank to leave a key interest rate unchanged last week.

Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer says persistent declines in the price of oil and other commodities and developments in China appear to have triggered increased volatility in global financial markets. Fischer says it's too soon to say whether the heightened volatility will affect global growth and the U.S. economy. But he says the Fed is closely monitoring these developments.

In remarks prepared for the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Fischer says he can't say when the Fed will raise rates again. But he stresses that the Fed still thinks that rate increases, whenever they do resume, will be gradual.