The US Fed has ended quantitative easing.
Expectations were for the Fed to end its current QE program and keep interest rates pegged at 0%-0.25%.
Both of these things came through.
Following the report, markets were lower, with the Dow down 85 points, the S&P 500 down 12 points, and the Nasdaq down 40 points.
The Fed’s latest statement showed that the Fed sees labour market conditions improving further since its last meeting, with solid job gains and a lower unemployment rate.
The Fed also continues to see that “considerable time” will elapse between now and its first interest rate hike.
All Committee members voted in favour of Wednesday’s announcement, except for Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota.
Kocherlakota, a noted dove, saw the need for the Fed to commit to, “keeping the current target range for the federal funds rate at least until the one-to-two-year ahead inflation outlook has returned to 2 per cent and should continue the asset purchase program at its current level.”
Here’s the full statement from the Fed:
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in September suggests that economic activity is expanding at a moderate pace. Labour market conditions improved somewhat further, with solid job gains and a lower unemployment rate. On balance, a range of labour market indicators suggests that underutilization of labour resources is gradually diminishing. Household spending is rising moderately and business fixed investment is advancing, while the recovery in the housing sector remains slow. Inflation has continued to run below the Committee’s longer-run objective. Market-based measures of inflation compensation have declined somewhat; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.
Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, with labour market indicators and inflation moving toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate. The Committee sees the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labour market as nearly balanced. Although inflation in the near term will likely be held down by lower energy prices and other factors, the Committee judges that the likelihood of inflation running persistently below 2 per cent has diminished somewhat since early this year.
The Committee judges that there has been a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labour market since the inception of its current asset purchase program. Moreover, the Committee continues to see sufficient underlying strength in the broader economy to support ongoing progress toward maximum employment in a context of price stability. Accordingly, the Committee decided to conclude its asset purchase program this month. 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 of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. This policy, by keeping the Committee’s holdings of longer-term securities at sizable levels, should help maintain accommodative financial conditions.
To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee today reaffirmed its view that the current 0 to 1/4 per cent target range for the federal funds rate remains appropriate. In determining how long to maintain this target range, the Committee will assess progress–both realised and expected–toward its objectives of maximum employment and 2 per cent inflation. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labour market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial developments. The Committee anticipates, based on its current assessment, that it likely will be appropriate to maintain the 0 to 1/4 per cent target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time following the end of its asset purchase program this month, especially if projected inflation continues to run below the Committee’s 2 per cent longer-run goal, and provided that longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored. However, if incoming information indicates faster progress toward the Committee’s employment and inflation objectives than the Committee now expects, then increases in the target range for the federal funds rate are likely to occur sooner than currently anticipated. Conversely, if progress proves slower than expected, then increases in the target range are likely to occur later than currently anticipated.
When the Committee decides to begin to remove policy accommodation, it will take a balanced approach consistent with its longer-run goals of maximum employment and inflation of 2 per cent. The Committee currently anticipates that, even after employment and inflation are near mandate-consistent levels, economic conditions may, for some time, warrant keeping the target federal funds rate below levels the Committee views as normal in the longer run.
Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Janet L. Yellen, Chair; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Lael Brainard; Stanley Fischer; Richard W. Fisher; Loretta J. Mester; Charles I. Plosser; Jerome H. Powell; and Daniel K. Tarullo. Voting against the action was Narayana Kocherlakota, who believed that, in light of continued sluggishness in the inflation outlook and the recent slide in market-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations, the Committee should commit to keeping the current target range for the federal funds rate at least until the one-to-two-year ahead inflation outlook has returned to 2 per cent and should continue the asset purchase program at its current level.