Thursday, January 03, 2013

FOMC Minutes: "Several" members expect QE3 to end in 2013

by Bill McBride on 1/03/2013 02:00:00 PM

It appears several members expect QE3 to end in 2013. Also, all but one member was in favor of economic thresholds for raising the Fed Funds rate.

From the Fed: Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, Meeting of December 11-12, 2012. Excerpt:

In their discussion of monetary policy for the period ahead, all members but one judged that continued provision of monetary accommodation was warranted in order to support further progress toward the Committee's goals of maximum employment and price stability. The Committee judged that such accommodation should be provided in part by continuing to purchase MBS at a pace of $40 billion per month and by purchasing longer-term Treasury securities, initially at a pace of $45 billion per month, following the completion of the maturity extension program at the end of the year. The Committee also maintained its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency MBS into agency MBS and decided that, starting in January, it will resume rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. While almost all members thought that the asset purchase program begun in September had been effective and supportive of growth, they also generally saw that the benefits of ongoing purchases were uncertain and that the potential costs could rise as the size of the balance sheet increased. Various members stressed the importance of a continuing assessment of labor market developments and reviews of the program's efficacy and costs at upcoming FOMC meetings. In considering the outlook for the labor market and the broader economy, a few members expressed the view that ongoing asset purchases would likely be warranted until about the end of 2013, while a few others emphasized the need for considerable policy accommodation but did not state a specific time frame or total for purchases. Several others thought that it would probably be appropriate to slow or to stop purchases well before the end of 2013, citing concerns about financial stability or the size of the balance sheet. One member viewed any additional purchases as unwarranted.

With regard to its forward guidance about the federal funds rate, the Committee decided to indicate in the statement language that it expects the highly accommodative stance of monetary policy to remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends and the economic recovery strengthens. In addition, all but one member agreed to replace the date-based guidance with economic thresholds indicating that the exceptionally low range for the federal funds rate would remain appropriate at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6½ percent, inflation between one and two years ahead is projected to be no more than a half percentage point above the Committee's longer-run goal, and longer-term inflation expectations continue to be well anchored. The Committee thought it would be helpful to indicate in the statement that it viewed the economic thresholds as consistent with its earlier, date-based guidance. The new language noted that the Committee would also consider other information when determining how long to maintain the highly accommodative stance of monetary policy, including additional measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial developments. One member dissented from the policy decision, opposing the new economic threshold language in the forward guidance, as well as the additional asset purchases and continued intervention in the MBS market.
emphasis added

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