June 2012 FOMC Meeting Statement: Whiff of QE3?

June 20th, 2012
in econ_news

Econintersect: The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) - the board of directors of the Federal Reserve - meeting concluded today with the members seeing economic dynamics somewhat changed - and gave the markets a faint whiff of quantitative easing.

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.

A slight modification to "operation twist" program was announced - but generally the FOMC voted to continue doing whatever they were doing.

The following table compares the statement from the previous FOMC meeting to the statement for the meeting concluding today.

Follow up:

25 April Statement

20 June Statement

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in March suggests that the economy has been expanding moderately. Labor market conditions have improved in recent months; the unemployment rate has declined but remains elevated. Household spending and business fixed investment have continued to advance. Despite some signs of improvement, the housing sector remains depressed. Inflation has picked up somewhat, mainly reflecting higher prices of crude oil and gasoline. However, longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable. Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in April suggests that the economy has been expanding moderately this year. However, growth in employment has slowed in recent months, and the unemployment rate remains elevated. 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. Inflation has declined, mainly reflecting lower prices of crude oil and gasoline, and 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 economic growth to remain moderate over coming quarters and then to pick up gradually. Consequently, the Committee anticipates that the unemployment rate will decline gradually toward levels that it judges to be consistent with its dual mandate. Strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook. The increase in oil and gasoline prices earlier this year is expected to affect inflation only temporarily, and the Committee anticipates that subsequently inflation will run at or below the rate that it judges most consistent with its dual mandate. Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. 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. Furthermore, strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook. 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.
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

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.

The Committee also decided to continue its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities as announced in September. The Committee is maintaining its existing policies 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 will regularly review the size and composition of its securities holdings and is prepared to adjust those holdings as appropriate to promote a stronger economic recovery in a context of price stability.

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 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. 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.
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; Sarah Bloom Raskin; Daniel K. Tarullo; John C. Williams; and Janet L. Yellen. Voting against the action was Jeffrey M. Lacker, who does not anticipate that economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate through late 2014. 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 against the action was Jeffrey M. Lacker, who opposed continuation of the maturity extension program.

 

Chairman Bernanke in his afternoon press conference on20 June added the following graphics explaining the Fed's increasingly optimistic view of the economy.

The New York Fed issued the following statement in regard to the actions of the FOMC meeting:

On June 20, 2012, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) directed the Open Market Trading Desk (the Desk) at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to continue through the end of the year its program to extend the average maturity of the Federal Reserve’s holdings of Treasury securities.  Specifically, the Desk was directed to purchase Treasury securities with remaining maturities of 6 years to 30 years and to sell or redeem an equal par value of Treasury securities with remaining maturities of approximately 3 years or less.  The continuation of the maturity extension program will proceed at the current pace and result in the purchase, as well as the sale and redemption, of about $267 billion in Treasury securities by the end of 2012.

The FOMC also directed the Desk to continue reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) in agency MBS, and to suspend, for the duration of the maturity extension program, rolling over maturing Treasury securities into new issues at auction.

Purchases of Treasury securities for the maturity extension program will be distributed across five sectors using the same approximate weights that have been used in the purchases to date:

Nominal Coupon Securities by Remaining Maturity*
TIPS**
6 – 8 Years
8 – 10 Years
10 – 20 Years
20 – 30 Years
6 – 30 Years
32%
32%
4%
29%
3%

*The on-the-run 10-year note will be considered part of the 8- to 10-year sector.
**TIPS weights are based on unadjusted par amounts.

This distribution could be altered if market conditions warrant.

A combination of sales and redemptions of Treasury securities will be conducted to match the amount of purchases over the program.  Sales of Treasury securities will take place in securities maturing between January 2013 and January 2016.  Securities maturing in the second half of 2012 will be redeemed—that is, allowed to mature without reinvestment—since redeeming maturing Treasury securities has a nearly identical effect on the portfolio as selling securities that are approaching maturity.  Once the maturity extension program is completed, the Federal Reserve will hold almost no securities maturing through January 2016.

The Desk will continue to publish a tentative schedule of operations for the following calendar month on or around the last business day of each month. The schedule will include the anticipated amount of redemptions, purchases and sales to be conducted, operation dates, settlement dates, security types (nominal coupons or TIPS) to be purchased or sold, the maturity date range of eligible issues, and an expected range for the size of each operation. The next schedule of operations will be released on Friday, June 29.

All other program details remain the same at this time.  Additional information on the program’s structure can be found in the revised Frequently Asked Questions for the Maturity Extension Program.

Steven Hansen

Source: Federal Reserve, Federal Reserve, NY Fed

 









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