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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fed Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged

Here's the press release:

Press Release

Release Date: September 16, 2008

For immediate release

The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to keep its target for the federal funds rate at 2 percent.

Strains in financial markets have increased significantly and labor markets have weakened further. Economic growth appears to have slowed recently, partly reflecting a softening of household spending. Tight credit conditions, the ongoing housing contraction, and some slowing in export growth are likely to weigh on economic growth over the next few quarters. Over time, the substantial easing of monetary policy, combined with ongoing measures to foster market liquidity, should help to promote moderate economic growth.

Inflation has been high, spurred by the earlier increases in the prices of energy and some other commodities. The Committee expects inflation to moderate later this year and next year, but the inflation outlook remains highly uncertain.

The downside risks to growth and the upside risks to inflation are both of significant concern to the Committee. The Committee will monitor economic and financial developments carefully and will act as needed to promote sustainable economic growth and price stability.

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; Christine M. Cumming; Elizabeth A. Duke; Richard W. Fisher; Donald L. Kohn; Randall S. Kroszner; Sandra Pianalto; Charles I. Plosser; Gary H. Stern; and Kevin M. Warsh. Ms. Cumming voted as the alternate for Timothy F. Geithner

I don't have any problems with this outcome. Lowering the target interest rate would increase inflation risk, but it wouldn't do much to stimulate the economy or to resolve the financial crisis, those solutions lie with fiscal policy (jump starting the economy) and with lender of last resort, regulatory, etc., type functions of the Fed and Treasury (the crisis). Brad DeLong, however, says "A Mistake, I Think".

    Posted by on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 11:34 AM in Economics, Monetary Policy | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (29)

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