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posted on 29 November 2015

Sentiment Of The FOMC: Unscripted

from the Kansas Fed

-- this post authored by San Cannon

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets eight times each year to set monetary policy. During these meetings, a changing cast of participants engages in presentations and discussions, drawing on the perspectives of research staff and community and business leaders as they formulate their views on economic conditions and determine the stance of monetary policy.

Determining what the FOMC finds relevant to policy discussions and how these discussions might have changed over time can be challenging. Although the Committee releases carefully constructed statements and meeting minutes to the public, some marketwatchers have argued these pieces have only rendered proceedings more mysterious or opaque. The full transcripts offer a more complete picture of Committee meetings; however, these transcripts are only released to the public after five years. Furthermore, the transcripts can be somewhat difficult to parse: the texts contain a wealth of disparate information ranging from casual anecdotes to research findings to staff economic forecasts.

Nevertheless, meeting transcripts offer readers the unique opportunity to examine the original expressions of individual meeting participants prior to being distilled and summarized into the statement and minutes. Applying text-mining techniques to FOMC transcripts can help quantify this information to provide a rich analytical resource reflecting real-time economic and financial analysis.

The words participants choose for particular topics allow text analysts to measure the tone of the overall discussion in a way not possible in statements or minutes. In addition, researchers can measure the tone of individual speakers. Unlike the minutes, which attribute general summary discussions to unidentified "Committee members," the transcripts identify speakers along with their contributions. This identification invites comparisons between individual speakers or classes of individuals such as Board members and Bank presidents.

[click on image below to continue reading]

Source: media/files/publicat/ econrev/econrevarchive/ 2015/4q15cannon.pdf

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