Wednesday, April 11, 2018

FOMC Minutes: "Monetary policy eventually would likely gradually move from an accommodative stance to being a neutral or restraining"

by Bill McBride on 4/11/2018 02:05:00 PM

Still on pace for 3 or 4 rate hikes in 2018.  Some excerpts:

From the Fed: Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, March 20-21, 2018:

With regard to the medium-term outlook for monetary policy, all participants saw some further firming of the stance of monetary policy as likely to be warranted. Almost all participants agreed that it remained appropriate to follow a gradual approach to raising the target range for the federal funds rate. Several participants commented that this gradual approach was most likely to be conducive to maintaining strong labor market conditions and returning inflation to 2 percent on a sustained basis without resulting in conditions that would eventually require an abrupt policy tightening. A number of participants indicated that the stronger outlook for economic activity, along with their increased confidence that inflation would return to 2 percent over the medium term, implied that the appropriate path for the federal funds rate over the next few years would likely be slightly steeper than they had previously expected. Participants agreed that the longer-run normal federal funds rate was likely lower than in the past, in part because of secular forces that had put downward pressure on real interest rates. Several participants expressed the judgment that it would likely become appropriate at some point for the Committee to set the federal funds rate above its longer-run normal value for a time. Some participants suggested that, at some point, it might become necessary to revise statement language to acknowledge that, in pursuit of the Committee's statutory mandate and consistent with the median of participants' policy rate projections in the SEP, monetary policy eventually would likely gradually move from an accommodative stance to being a neutral or restraining factor for economic activity. However, participants expressed a range of views on the amount of policy tightening that would likely be required over the medium term to achieve the Committee's goals. Participants agreed that the actual path of the federal funds rate would depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data.
emphasis added