Skip to comments.FOMC Minutes: Confused Yet? (Long Article)
Posted on 07/11/2013 10:56:30 AM PDT by Kaslin
Following is a snip from the June 18-19, 2013 Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, released today. Highlighting is mine.
In their discussion of monetary policy for the period ahead, all members but one judged that the outlook for economic activity and inflation warranted the continuation of the Committee's current highly accommodative stance of monetary policy in order to foster a stronger economic recovery and sustained improvement in labor market conditions in a context of price stability.
In the view of one member [Esther L. George], the improvement in the outlook for the labor market warranted a more deliberate statement from the Committee that asset purchases would be reduced in the very near future.
At the conclusion of its discussion, the Committee decided to continue adding policy accommodation by purchasing additional MBS at a pace of $40 billion per month and longer-term Treasury securities at a pace of $45 billion per month and to maintain its existing reinvestment policies. In addition, the Committee reaffirmed its intention to keep the target federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and retained its forward guidance that it anticipates that this exceptionally low range for the federal funds rate will be appropriate at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6-1/2 percent, inflation between one and two years ahead is projected to be no more than a half percentage point above the Committee's 2 percent longer-run goal, and longer-term inflation expectations continue to be well anchored.
Regarding the outlook for policy, members agreed that monetary policy in coming quarters would depend on the evolution of the economic outlook and progress toward the Committee's longer-run objectives of maximum employment and inflation of 2 percent. While recognizing the improvement in a number of indicators of economic activity and labor market conditions since the fall, many members indicated that further improvement in the outlook for the labor market would be required before it would be appropriate to slow the pace of asset purchases.
Some added that they would, as well, need to see more evidence that the projected acceleration in economic activity would occur, before reducing the pace of asset purchases. For one member [James Bullard], such a decision would also depend importantly on evidence that inflation was moving back toward the Committee's 2 percent objective; that member urged the Committee to modify its postmeeting statement to say explicitly that the Committee will act to move inflation back toward its goal.
A couple of other members also worried that the downside risks to inflation had increased, with one of them suggesting that the statement more explicitly reflect this increased risk.
However, several members judged that a reduction in asset purchases would likely soon be warranted, in light of the cumulative decline in unemployment since the September meeting and ongoing increases in private payrolls, which had increased their confidence in the outlook for sustained improvement in labor market conditions. Two of these members also indicated that the Committee should begin curtailing its purchases relatively soon in order to prevent the potential negative consequences of the program from exceeding its anticipated benefits.
Another member pointed out that if the program were ended because of concerns about such consequences, the Committee would need to explore other options for providing appropriate monetary accommodation. Many members indicated that decisions about the pace and composition of asset purchases were distinct from decisions about the appropriate level of the federal funds rate, which would continue to be guided by the thresholds in the Committee's statement. In general, members continued to anticipate that maintaining the current exceptionally low level of the federal funds rate was likely to remain appropriate for a considerable period after asset purchases are concluded.
Voting against this action: James Bullard and Esther L. George.
Mr. Bullard dissented because he believed that, in light of recent low readings on inflation, the Committee should signal more strongly its willingness to defend its goal of 2 percent inflation. He pointed out that inflation had trended down since the beginning of 2012 and was now well below target. Going forward, he viewed it as particularly important for the Committee to monitor price developments closely and to adapt its policy in response to incoming economic information.
Ms. George dissented because she viewed the ongoing improvement in labor market conditions and in the outlook as warranting a deliberate statement from the Committee at this meeting that the pace of its asset purchases would be reduced in the very near future. She continued to have concerns about maintaining aggressive monetary stimulus in the face of a growing economy and pointed to the potential for financial imbalances to emerge as a result of the high level of monetary accommodation.
Here are a few snips from the related Summary of Economic Projections.
Overall, FOMC participants projected that, under appropriate monetary policy, the pace of economic recovery would gradually pick up over the 2013-15 period, and inflation would move up from recent very low readings but remain subdued.
IOW, the bond bubble and carry traded dollars will crush the world and U.S. economies when they pop/unwind. All she wants to say is that we will reduce the insanity very soon, not "now" or "really soon".