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Wednesday, February 22, 2023

FOMC Minutes: All participants continued to anticipate ongoing rate increases

by Calculated Risk on 2/22/2023 03:20:00 PM

From the Fed: Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, January 31–February 1, 2023. Excerpt:

In their consideration of appropriate monetary policy actions at this meeting, participants concurred that the Committee had made significant progress over the past year in moving toward a sufficiently restrictive stance of monetary policy. Even so, participants agreed that, while there were recent signs that the cumulative effect of the Committee's tightening of the stance of monetary policy had begun to moderate inflationary pressures, inflation remained well above the Committee's longer-run goal of 2 percent and the labor market remained very tight, contributing to continuing upward pressures on wages and prices. Against this backdrop, and in consideration of the lags with which monetary policy affects economic activity and inflation, almost all participants agreed that it was appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate 25 basis points at this meeting. Many of these participants observed that a further slowing in the pace of rate increases would better allow them to assess the economy's progress toward the Committee's goals of maximum employment and price stability as they determine the extent of future policy tightening that will be required to attain a stance that is sufficiently restrictive to achieve these goals. A few participants stated that they favored raising the target range for the federal funds rate 50 basis points at this meeting or that they could have supported raising the target by that amount. The participants favoring a 50-basis point increase noted that a larger increase would more quickly bring the target range close to the levels they believed would achieve a sufficiently restrictive stance, taking into account their views of the risks to achieving price stability in a timely way. All participants agreed that it was appropriate to continue the process of reducing the Federal Reserve's securities holdings, as described in its previously announced Plans for Reducing the Size of the Federal Reserve's Balance Sheet.

In discussing the policy outlook, with inflation still well above the Committee's 2 percent goal and the labor market remaining very tight, all participants continued to anticipate that ongoing increases in the target range for the federal funds rate would be appropriate to achieve the Committee's objectives. Participants affirmed their strong commitment to returning inflation to the Committee's 2 percent objective. In determining the extent of future increases in the target range, participants judged that it would be appropriate to take into account the cumulative tightening of monetary policy, the lags with which monetary policy affects economic activity and inflation, and economic and financial developments. Participants observed that a restrictive policy stance would need to be maintained until the incoming data provided confidence that inflation was on a sustained downward path to 2 percent, which was likely to take some time.
emphasis added