Federal Reserve

June 2012 August 2012 Comments
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in April suggests that the economy has been expanding moderately this year. Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in June suggests that economic activity decelerated somewhat over the first half of this year. Shades the GDP view down.
However, growth in employment has slowed in recent months, and the unemployment rate remains elevated. Growth in employment has been slow in recent months, and the unemployment rate remains elevated. No real change.
Business fixed investment has continued to advance. Household spending appears to be rising at a somewhat slower pace than earlier in the year. Despite some signs of improvement, the housing sector remains depressed. Business fixed investment has continued to advance. Household spending has been rising at a somewhat slower pace than earlier in the year. Despite some further signs of improvement, the housing sector remains depressed. Shades down household spending.
Inflation has declined, mainly reflecting lower prices of crude oil and gasoline, and longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable. Inflation has declined since earlier this year, mainly reflecting lower prices of crude oil and gasoline, and longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable. No change in  their view of inflation. TIPS are showing flat inflation expectations since the last meeting. (5y forward 5y inflation implied from TIPS.)
Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. No change. Why bother saying this?
The Committee expects economic growth to remain moderate over coming quarters and then to pick up very gradually. Consequently, the Committee anticipates that the unemployment rate will decline only slowly toward levels that it judges to be consistent with its dual mandate. The Committee expects economic growth to remain moderate over coming quarters and then to pick up very gradually. Consequently, the Committee anticipates that the unemployment rate will decline only slowly toward levels that it judges to be consistent with its dual mandate. No change.
Furthermore, strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook. Furthermore, strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook. No change.
The Committee anticipates that inflation over the medium term will run at or below the rate that it judges most consistent with its dual mandate. The Committee anticipates that inflation over the medium term will run at or below the rate that it judges most consistent with its dual mandate. No change.
To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with its dual mandate, the Committee expects to maintain a highly accommodative stance for monetary policy. To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with its dual mandate, the Committee expects to maintain a highly accommodative stance for monetary policy. No change.
In particular, the Committee decided today to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently anticipates that economic conditions–including low rates of resource utilization and a subdued outlook for inflation over the medium run–are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014. In particular, the Committee decided today to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently anticipates that economic conditions–including low rates of resource utilization and a subdued outlook for inflation over the medium run–are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014. No change.
The Committee also decided to continue through the end of the year its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities. Specifically, the Committee intends to purchase Treasury securities with remaining maturities of 6 years to 30 years at the current pace and to sell or redeem an equal amount of Treasury securities with remaining maturities of approximately 3 years or less. This continuation of the maturity extension program should put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative. The Committee also decided to continue through the end of the year its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities as announced in June, No real change, drops the expanded explanation – this is small potatoes.
The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities. and it is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities. No real change.
The Committee is prepared to take further action as appropriate to promote a stronger economic recovery and sustained improvement in labor market conditions in a context of price stability. The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments and will provide additional accommodation as needed to promote a stronger economic recovery and sustained improvement in labor market conditions in a context of price stability. Raises the possibility that they could act before the next meeting in September.
Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Elizabeth A. Duke; Dennis P. Lockhart; Sandra Pianalto; Jerome H. Powell; Sarah Bloom Raskin; Jeremy C. Stein; Daniel K. Tarullo; John C. Williams; and Janet L. Yellen. Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Elizabeth A. Duke; Dennis P. Lockhart; Sandra Pianalto; Jerome H. Powell; Sarah Bloom Raskin; Jeremy C. Stein; Daniel K. Tarullo; John C. Williams; and Janet L. Yellen. No change
Voting against the action was Jeffrey M. Lacker, who opposed continuation of the maturity extension program. Voting against the action was Jeffrey M. Lacker, who preferred to omit the description of the time period over which economic conditions are likely to warrant an exceptionally low level of the federal funds rate. Confirms that Lacker doesn’t like promising Fed Funds will remain low until 2014.

 

Comments

  • This was a nothing-burger.  Shades down GDP and household spending.  No change in policy, except that the FOMC might act ahead of the next meeting in September.
  • In my opinion, I don’t think holding down longer-term rates on the highest-quality debt will have any impact on lower quality debts, which is where most of the economy finances itself.
  • Also, the reinvestment in Agency MBS should have limited impact because so many owners are inverted, or ineligible for financing backed by the GSEs, and implicitly the government, even with the recently announced refinancing changes.
  • The key variables on Fed Policy are capacity utilization, unemployment, inflation trends, and inflation expectations.  As a result, the FOMC ain’t
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