The US Federal Reserve has decided to raise interest rates again, as the dollar strengthened on the news.

This afternoon the dollar was at 1.7321 to the pound and at 1.4440 against the euro.

In new chairman Ben Bernanke's first meeting the Fed decided to go with a 15th consecutive rate rise, putting the base rate at 4.75 per cent.

The move was welcomed by analysts who saw it as a continuation of Bernanke's predecessor Alan Greenspan.

In its confirmation of the rise, the Fed said that there were encouraging signs for the economy.

"Economic growth has rebounded strongly in the current quarter but appears likely to moderate to a more sustainable pace," the Fed stated.

"As yet, the run-up in the prices of energy and other commodities appears to have had only a modest effect on core inflation, ongoing productivity gains have helped to hold the growth of unit labour costs in check, and inflation expectations remain contained."

In sentiments little changed from those published under Greenspan, the Fed said it would continue to "respond to changes in economic prospects as needed".