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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

FOMC Minutes: "Most participants noted the risks of moving too quickly to ease the stance of policy"

by Calculated Risk on 2/21/2024 02:00:00 PM

From the Fed: Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, January 30–31, 2024. Excerpt:

In discussing risk-management considerations that could bear on the policy outlook, participants remarked that while the risks to achieving the Committee's employment and inflation goals were moving into better balance, they remained highly attentive to inflation risks. In particular, they saw upside risks to inflation as having diminished but noted that inflation was still above the Committee's longer-run goal. Some participants noted the risk that progress toward price stability could stall, particularly if aggregate demand strengthened or supply-side healing slowed more than expected. Participants highlighted the uncertainty associated with how long a restrictive monetary policy stance would need to be maintained. Most participants noted the risks of moving too quickly to ease the stance of policy and emphasized the importance of carefully assessing incoming data in judging whether inflation is moving down sustainably to 2 percent. A couple of participants, however, pointed to downside risks to the economy associated with maintaining an overly restrictive stance for too long.

Participants observed that the continuing process of reducing the size of the Federal Reserve's balance sheet was an important part of the Committee's overall approach to achieving its macroeconomic objectives and that balance sheet runoff had so far proceeded smoothly. In light of ongoing reductions in usage of the ON RRP facility, many participants suggested that it would be appropriate to begin in-depth discussions of balance sheet issues at the Committee's next meeting to guide an eventual decision to slow the pace of runoff. Some participants remarked that, given the uncertainty surrounding estimates of the ample level of reserves, slowing the pace of runoff could help smooth the transition to that level of reserves or could allow the Committee to continue balance sheet runoff for longer. In addition, a few participants noted that the process of balance sheet runoff could continue for some time even after the Committee begins to reduce the target range for the federal funds rate.
emphasis added