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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Lucky Day

[If all goes according to plan, this will post at 11:30.]

I was lucky enough to draw jury duty today, and I'm assuming blogging from my iPhone won't be allowed, so I (probably) won't be able to post or talk about the press release from the FOMC meeting today until much later.

Is there anything in the press release that should be noted?

Update: Yahoo, after a long wait a plea bargain settled the case and I've been released. A quick scan of the news reports on the meeting indicate that two statements in the press release (see below) caught people's attention, the statement that "economic activity is leveling out" and the notice that the Fed will "gradually slow" its purchase of Treasury Securities and "anticipates that the full amount will be purchased by the end of October." The first statement is a slight nod toward recent improvements, and the second is an extension of earlier plans to end the purchases in September. This will keep options open, and recognizes that there is still considerable uncertainty about the path the economy will take:

Press Release Release Date: August 12, 2009: Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in June suggests that economic activity is leveling out. Conditions in financial markets have improved further in recent weeks. Household spending has continued to show signs of stabilizing but remains constrained by ongoing job losses, sluggish income growth, lower housing wealth, and tight credit. Businesses are still cutting back on fixed investment and staffing but are making progress in bringing inventory stocks into better alignment with sales. Although economic activity is likely to remain weak for a time, the Committee continues to anticipate that policy actions to stabilize financial markets and institutions, fiscal and monetary stimulus, and market forces will contribute to a gradual resumption of sustainable economic growth in a context of price stability.
The prices of energy and other commodities have risen of late. However, substantial resource slack is likely to dampen cost pressures, and the Committee expects that inflation will remain subdued for some time.
In these circumstances, the Federal Reserve will employ all available tools to promote economic recovery and to preserve price stability. The Committee will maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and continues to anticipate that economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period. As previously announced, to provide support to mortgage lending and housing markets and to improve overall conditions in private credit markets, the Federal Reserve will purchase a total of up to $1.25 trillion of agency mortgage-backed securities and up to $200 billion of agency debt by the end of the year. In addition, the Federal Reserve is in the process of buying $300 billion of Treasury securities. To promote a smooth transition in markets as these purchases of Treasury securities are completed, the Committee has decided to gradually slow the pace of these transactions and anticipates that the full amount will be purchased by the end of October. The Committee will continue to evaluate the timing and overall amounts of its purchases of securities in light of the evolving economic outlook and conditions in financial markets. The Federal Reserve is monitoring the size and composition of its balance sheet and will make adjustments to its credit and liquidity programs as warranted.
Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Elizabeth A. Duke; Charles L. Evans; Donald L. Kohn; Jeffrey M. Lacker; Dennis P. Lockhart; Daniel K. Tarullo; Kevin M. Warsh; and Janet L. Yellen.

    Posted by on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 11:30 AM in Economics, Monetary Policy | Permalink  Comments (8)


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