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Wednesday, July 07, 2021

FOMC Minutes: "Inflation Risks tilted to upside", Begin reducing asset purchases "somewhat earlier"

by Calculated Risk on 7/07/2021 03:53:00 PM

From the Fed: Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, June 15-16, 2021. A few excerpts:

In discussing the uncertainty and risks associated with the economic outlook, participants commented that the process of reopening the economy was unprecedented and likely to be uneven across sectors. Some participants judged that supply chain disruptions and labor shortages complicated the task of assessing progress toward the Committee's goals and that the speed at which these factors would dissipate was uncertain. Accordingly, participants judged that uncertainty around their economic projections was elevated. Although they generally saw the risks to the outlook for economic activity as broadly balanced, a substantial majority of participants judged that the risks to their inflation projections were tilted to the upside because of concerns that supply disruptions and labor shortages might linger for longer and might have larger or more persistent effects on prices and wages than they currently assumed. Several participants expressed concern that longer-term inflation expectations might rise to inappropriate levels if elevated inflation readings persisted. Several other participants cautioned that downside risks to inflation remained because temporary price pressures might unwind faster than currently anticipated and because the forces that held down inflation and inflation expectations during the previous economic expansion had not gone away or might reinforce the effect of the unwinding of temporary price pressures.
Participants discussed the Federal Reserve's asset purchases and progress toward the Committee's goals since last December when the Committee adopted its guidance for asset purchases. The Committee's standard of "substantial further progress" was generally seen as not having yet been met, though participants expected progress to continue. Various participants mentioned that they expected the conditions for beginning to reduce the pace of asset purchases to be met somewhat earlier than they had anticipated at previous meetings in light of incoming data. ...

Various participants offered their views on the Committee's agency MBS purchases. Several participants saw benefits to reducing the pace of these purchases more quickly or earlier than Treasury purchases in light of valuation pressures in housing markets. Several other participants, however, commented that reducing the pace of Treasury and MBS purchases commensurately was preferable because this approach would be well aligned with the Committee's previous communications or because purchases of Treasury securities and MBS both provide accommodation through their influence on broader financial conditions. In coming meetings, participants agreed to continue assessing the economy's progress toward the Committee's goals and to begin to discuss their plans for adjusting the path and composition of asset purchases. In addition, participants reiterated their intention to provide notice well in advance of an announcement to reduce the pace of purchases.
emphasis added