Federal Reserve Cuts Funds Rate 50 Basis Points...As Expected

Remember the days when a 50 basis point cut was big news, something that would be debated by pundits and economists and fuel speculative, anticipatory trading? Those days are behind us for as long as the Federal Reserve and the Treasury continue to use their new “tools” to manipulate rescue our banking system and, fingers crossed, our economy.

So let’s relive those days. What do you think of today’s Fed move?

Also, congratulations. 52% of you correctly predicted this move by the Fed in our reader poll. Tied for second place were a 75 basis point cut and the Fed emailing pdf files of $10,000 bills so banks can simply print their own money.

Here’s the Fed’s statement. It emphasises the “intensification of financial stability” and the global economic slowdown. Inflation concerns absolutely crushed. No dissenters.

Release Date: October 29, 2008

For immediate release
The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to lower its target for the federal funds rate 50 basis points to 1 per cent.

The pace of economic activity appears to have slowed markedly, owing importantly to a decline in consumer expenditures. Business equipment spending and industrial production have weakened in recent months, and slowing economic activity in many foreign economies is damping the prospects for U.S. exports. Moreover, the intensification of financial market turmoil is likely to exert additional restraint on spending, partly by further reducing the ability of households and businesses to obtain credit.

In light of the declines in the prices of energy and other commodities and the weaker prospects for economic activity, the Committee expects inflation to moderate in coming quarters to levels consistent with price stability.

Recent policy actions, including today’s rate reduction, coordinated interest rate cuts by central banks, extraordinary liquidity measures, and official steps to strengthen financial systems, should help over time to improve credit conditions and promote a return to moderate economic growth. Nevertheless, downside risks to growth remain. The Committee will monitor economic and financial developments carefully and will act as needed to promote sustainable economic growth and price stability.

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; Timothy F. Geithner, Vice Chairman; Elizabeth A. Duke; Richard W. Fisher; Donald L. Kohn; Randall S. Kroszner; Sandra Pianalto; Charles I. Plosser; Gary H. Stern; and Kevin M. Warsh.

In a related action, the Board of Governors unanimously approved a 50-basis-point decrease in the discount rate to 1-1/4 per cent. In taking this action, the Board approved the requests submitted by the Boards of Directors of the Federal Reserve Banks of Boston, New York, Cleveland, and San Francisco.

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