The taper continues.
The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee just announced its latest monetary policy decision, and there were no surprises.
The FOMC said it would take another $US10 billion off its monthly asset purchases and keep interest rates between 0%-0.25%. The Fed began paring its rate of monthly asset purchases, known as quantitative easing, last December.
In the minutes from its June FOMC meeting, the Fed indicated that it would conclude QE with its October meeting.
In Wednesday’s statement, the Fed said, “a range of labour market indicators suggests that there remains significant underutilization of labour resources.”
On the inflation front, the Fed said it, “judges that the likelihood of inflation running persistently below 2 per cent has diminished somewhat.”
The lone FOMC member voting against the decision was Charles Plosser, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, who, “objected to the guidance indicating that it likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate for ‘a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends,’ because such language is time dependent and does not reflect the considerable economic progress that has been made toward the Committee’s goals.”
Wednesday’s FOMC announcement, which is not accompanied by a press conference from Fed Chair Janet Yellen, comes on the heels of a better than expected GDP report this morning.
Here’s the full statement from the Fed:
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in June indicates that growth in economic activity rebounded in the second quarter. Labour market conditions improved, with the unemployment rate declining further. However, a range of labour market indicators suggests that there remains significant underutilization of labour resources. Household spending appears to be rising moderately and business fixed investment is advancing, while the recovery in the housing sector remains slow. Fiscal policy is restraining economic growth, although the extent of restraint is diminishing. Inflation has moved somewhat closer to the Committee’s longer-run objective. 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 and judges that the likelihood of inflation running persistently below 2 per cent has diminished somewhat.
The Committee currently judges that there is sufficient underlying strength in the broader economy to support ongoing improvement in labour market conditions. In light of the cumulative progress toward maximum employment and the improvement in the outlook for labour market conditions since the inception of the current asset purchase program, the Committee decided to make a further measured reduction in the pace of its asset purchases. Beginning in August, the Committee will add to its holdings of agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $US10 billion per month rather than $US15 billion per month, and will add to its holdings of longer-term Treasury securities at a pace of $US15 billion per month rather than $US20 billion per 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. The Committee’s sizable and still-increasing holdings of longer-term securities should maintain downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative, which in turn should promote a stronger economic recovery and help to ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with the Committee’s dual mandate.
The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments in coming months and will continue its purchases of Treasury and agency mortgage-backed securities, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate, until the outlook for the labour market has improved substantially in a context of price stability. If incoming information broadly supports the Committee’s expectation of ongoing improvement in labour market conditions and inflation moving back toward its longer-run objective, the Committee will likely reduce the pace of asset purchases in further measured steps at future meetings. However, asset purchases are not on a preset course, and the Committee’s decisions about their pace will remain contingent on the Committee’s outlook for the labour market and inflation as well as its assessment of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases.
To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee today reaffirmed its view that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy remains appropriate. In determining how long to maintain the current 0 to 1/4 per cent target range for the federal funds rate, 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 continues to anticipate, based on its assessment of these factors, that it likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends, 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.
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; Narayana Kocherlakota; Loretta J. Mester; Jerome H. Powell; and Daniel K. Tarullo. Voting against was Charles I. Plosser who objected to the guidance indicating that it likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate for “a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends,” because such language is time dependent and does not reflect the considerable economic progress that has been made toward the Committee’s goals.
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