Wednesday, October 07, 2020

FOMC Minutes: "most forecasters were assuming that an additional pandemic-related fiscal package would be approved this year"

by Calculated Risk on 10/07/2020 02:38:00 PM

From the Fed: Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, September 15-16, 2020. A few excerpts:

While the economic outlook had brightened, market participants continued to see significant risks ahead. Some noted concerns about elevated asset valuations in certain sectors. Many also cited geopolitical events as heightening uncertainty. In addition, most forecasters were assuming that an additional pandemic-related fiscal package would be approved this year, and noted that, absent a new package, growth could decelerate at a faster-than-expected pace in the fourth quarter. In light of these and other risks, as well as the ongoing pandemic, market participants continued to suggest that the supportive policy environment and the backstops to market functioning remained important stabilizers.
Participants continued to see the uncertainty surrounding the economic outlook as very elevated, with the path of the economy highly dependent on the course of the virus; on how individuals, businesses, and public officials responded to it; and on the effectiveness of public health measures to address it. Participants cited several downside risks that could threaten the recovery. While the risk of another broad economic shutdown was seen as having receded, participants remained concerned about the possibility of additional virus outbreaks that could undermine the recovery. Such scenarios could result in increases in bankruptcies and defaults, put stress on the financial system, and lead to disruptions in the flow of credit to households and businesses. Most participants raised the concern that fiscal support so far for households, businesses, and state and local governments might not provide sufficient relief to these sectors. A couple of participants saw an upside risk that further fiscal stimulus could be larger than anticipated, though it might come later than had been expected. Several participants raised concerns regarding the longer-run effects of the pandemic, including how it could lead to a restructuring in some sectors of the economy that could slow employment growth or could accelerate technological disruption that was likely limiting the pricing power of firms.
emphasis added