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19 June 2013 FOMC Meeting Statement: Again Has Little Change in Substance

June 19th, 2013
in econ_news, syndication

Econintersect: The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) - the board of directors of the Federal Reserve - meeting concluded today and issued their meeting statement and subsequent Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's press conference was little changed from the previous except for lowering the growth forecast for 2013 marginally, lowering its inflation outlook, and acknowledging reduced economic risk:

The Committee sees the downside risks to the outlook for the economy and the labor market as having diminished since the fall.

Follow up:

 

There were very few changes from the previous statement except there are now two dissenters on some of the wording of the statement.

The following table compares the statement from the previous FOMC meeting to the statement for the meeting concluding today. There were several changes in addition to what has been highlighted above.

01 May Statement

19 June Statement

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in March suggests that economic activity has been expanding at a moderate pace. Labor market conditions have shown some improvement in recent months, on balance, but the unemployment rate remains elevated. Household spending and business fixed investment advanced, and the housing sector has strengthened further, but fiscal policy is restraining economic growth. Inflation has been running somewhat below the Committee's longer-run objective, apart from temporary variations that largely reflect fluctuations in energy prices. Longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable. Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in May suggests that economic activity has been expanding at a moderate pace. Labor market conditions have shown further improvement in recent months, on balance, but the unemployment rate remains elevated. Household spending and business fixed investment advanced, and the housing sector has strengthened further, but fiscal policy is restraining economic growth. Partly reflecting transitory influences, inflation has been running below the Committee's longer-run objective, but 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 growth will proceed at a moderate pace and the unemployment rate will gradually decline toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate. The Committee continues to see downside risks to the economic outlook. The Committee also anticipates that inflation over the medium term likely will run at or below its 2 percent objective. Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic growth will proceed at a moderate pace and the unemployment rate will gradually decline toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate. The Committee sees the downside risks to the outlook for the economy and the labor market as having diminished since the fall. The Committee also anticipates that inflation over the medium term likely will run at or below its 2 percent objective.
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 decided to continue purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month and longer-term Treasury securities at a pace of $45 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. Taken together, these actions should maintain downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative.

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 decided to continue purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month and longer-term Treasury securities at a pace of $45 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. Taken together, these actions should maintain downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative.

The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments in coming months. The Committee will continue its purchases of Treasury and agency mortgage-backed securities, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate, until the outlook for the labor market has improved substantially in a context of price stability. The Committee is prepared to increase or reduce the pace of its purchases to maintain appropriate policy accommodation as the outlook for the labor market or inflation changes. In determining the size, pace, and composition of its asset purchases, the Committee will continue to take appropriate account of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases as well as the extent of progress toward its economic objectives. The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments in coming months. The Committee will continue its purchases of Treasury and agency mortgage-backed securities, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate, until the outlook for the labor market has improved substantially in a context of price stability. The Committee is prepared to increase or reduce the pace of its purchases to maintain appropriate policy accommodation as the outlook for the labor market or inflation changes. In determining the size, pace, and composition of its asset purchases, the Committee will continue to take appropriate account of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases as well as the extent of progress toward its economic objectives.
To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee expects that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends and the economic recovery strengthens. In particular, the Committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently 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.
To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee expects that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends and the economic recovery strengthens. In particular, the Committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently 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.

In determining how long to maintain a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy, the Committee will also consider other information, including additional measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial developments. 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 percent.


In determining how long to maintain a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy, the Committee will also consider other information, including additional measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial developments. 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 percent.
Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; James Bullard; Elizabeth A. Duke; Charles L. Evans; Jerome H. Powell; Sarah Bloom Raskin; Eric S. Rosengren; Jeremy C. Stein; Daniel K. Tarullo; and Janet L. Yellen. Voting against the action was Esther L. George, who was concerned that the continued high level of monetary accommodation increased the risks of future economic and financial imbalances and, over time, could cause an increase in long-term inflation expectations.

 

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Elizabeth A. Duke; Charles L. Evans; Jerome H. Powell; Sarah Bloom Raskin; Eric S. Rosengren; Jeremy C. Stein; Daniel K. Tarullo; and Janet L. Yellen. Voting against the action was James Bullard, who believed that the Committee should signal more strongly its willingness to defend its inflation goal in light of recent low inflation readings, and Esther L. George, who was concerned that the continued high level of monetary accommodation increased the risks of future economic and financial imbalances and, over time, could cause an increase in long-term inflation expectations.

 

The following graphs and commentary is from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's press conference.

Explanation of Economic Projections Charts

  • The charts show actual values and projections for three economic variables, based on FOMC participants’ individual assessments of appropriate monetary policy:
  • Change in Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—as measured from the fourth quarter of the previous year to the fourth quarter of the year indicated, with values plotted at the end of each year.
  • Unemployment Rate—the average civilian unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of each year, with values plotted at the end of each year.

PCE Inflation—as measured by the change in the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index from the fourth quarter of the previous year to the fourth quarter of the year indicated, with values plotted at the end of each year.

Information for these variables is shown for each year from 2008 to 2015, and for the longer run.

The solid line, labeled “Actual,” shows the historical values for each variable.

The lightly shaded areas represent the ranges of the projections of policymakers. The bottom of the range for each variable is the lowest of all of the projections for that year or period. Likewise, the top of the range is the highest of all of the projections for that year or period.

The dark shaded areas represent the central tendency, which is a narrower version of the range that excludes the three highest and three lowest projections for each variable in each year or period.

The longer-run projections, which are shown on the far right side of the charts, are the rates of growth, unemployment, and inflation to which a policymaker expects the economy to converge over time—maybe in five or six years—in the absence of further shocks and under appropriate monetary policy. Because appropriate monetary policy, by definition, is aimed at achieving the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate of maximum employment and price stability in the longer run, policymakers’ longer-run projections for economic growth and unemployment may be interpreted, respectively, as estimates of the economy’s normal or trend rate of growth and its normal unemployment rate over the longer run. The longer-run projection shown for inflation is the rate of inflation judged to be most consistent with the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate.

Explanation of Policy Path Charts

These charts are based on policymakers’ assessments of the appropriate path for the FOMC’s target federal funds rate. The target funds rate is measured as the level of the target rate at the end of the calendar year or in the longer run. Appropriate monetary policy, by definition, is the future path of policy that each participant deems most likely to foster outcomes for economic activity and inflation that best satisfy his or her interpretation of the Federal Reserve’s dual objectives of maximum employment and stable prices.

  • In the upper panel, the shaded bars represent the number of FOMC participants who judge that the initial increase in the target federal funds rate (from its current range of 0 to ¼ percent) would appropriately occur in the specified calendar year.
  • In the lower panel, the dots represent individual policymakers’ assessments of the appropriate federal funds rate target at the end of each of the next several years and in the longer run. Each dot in that chart represents one policymaker’s projection. Please note that for purposes of this chart the responses are rounded to the nearest ¼ percentage point, with the exception that all values below 37.5 basis points are rounded to ¼ percent.


These assessments of the timing of the initial increase of the target federal funds rate and the path of the target federal funds rate are the ones that policymakers view as compatible with their individual economic projections.

Steven Hansen

Source: All minutes and statement index / calendar for the Federal Reserve

 









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