Fed Statements Compared

March StatementApril Statement

My Comments

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in January indicates that the economy continues to contract.

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in March indicates that the economy has continued to contract, though the pace of contraction appears to be somewhat slower.

They are hoping that this blip in the degree of financial confidence is a sign that the real economy is deteriorating at a slower rate.

Job losses, declining equity and housing wealth, and tight credit conditions have weighed on consumer sentiment and spending.Household spending has shown signs of stabilizing but remains constrained by ongoing job losses, lower housing wealth, and tight credit.

No material change, unless they mean that consumer psychology is rational; there is reason for negative sentiment.

Weaker sales prospects and difficulties in obtaining credit have led businesses to cut back on inventories and fixed investment.Weak sales prospects and difficulties in obtaining credit have led businesses to cut back on inventories, fixed investment, and staffing.

Adds that jobs are being cut as well.

U.S. exports have slumped as a number of major trading partners have also fallen into recession.

Statement dropped. What was true in March is still true now, though.

Although the near-term economic outlook is weak,

Although the economic outlook has improved modestly since the March meeting, partly reflecting some easing of financial market conditions, economic activity is likely to remain weak for a time.

They are hoping that this blip in the degree of financial confidence is a sign that the real economy is deteriorating at a slower rate.

the Committee anticipates that policy actions to stabilize financial markets and institutions, together with fiscal and monetary stimulus, will contribute to a gradual resumption of sustainable economic growth.

Nonetheless, the Committee continues to anticipate that policy actions to stabilize financial markets and institutions, fiscal and monetary stimulus, and market forces will contribute to a gradual resumption of sustainable economic growth in a context of price stability.

They think their policies will work, and that the markets may help them. They are saying there is no problem of inflation coming from all of the liquidity injected into their panoply of credit market programs.

In light of increasing economic slack here and abroad, the Committee expects that inflation will remain subdued.  Moreover, the Committee sees some risk that inflation could persist for a time below rates that best foster economic growth and price stability in the longer term.

In light of increasing economic slack here and abroad, the Committee expects that inflation will remain subdued. Moreover, the Committee sees some risk that inflation could persist for a time below rates that best foster economic growth and price stability in the longer term.

No change.

In these circumstances, the Federal Reserve will employ all available tools to promote economic recovery and to preserve price stability.  The Committee will maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and anticipates that economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period.

In these circumstances, the Federal Reserve will employ all available tools to promote economic recovery and to preserve price stability. The Committee will maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and anticipates that economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period.

No change. The fed funds rate is irrelevant now.

To provide greater support to mortgage lending and housing markets, the Committee decided today to increase the size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet further by purchasing up to an additional $750 billion of agency mortgage-backed securities, bringing its total purchases of these securities to up to $1.25 trillion this year, and to increase its purchases of agency debt this year by up to $100 billion to a total of up to $200 billion.

As previously announced, to provide support to mortgage lending and housing markets and to improve overall conditions in private credit markets, the Federal Reserve will purchase a total of up to $1.25 trillion of agency mortgage-backed securities and up to $200 billion of agency debt by the end of the year.

No material change.

Moreover, to help improve conditions in private credit markets, the Committee decided to purchase up to $300 billion of longer-term Treasury securities over the next six months.

In addition, the Federal Reserve will buy up to $300 billion of Treasury securities by autumn. The Committee will continue to evaluate the timing and overall amounts of its purchases of securities in light of the evolving economic outlook and conditions in financial markets.

They are saying they won’t let the liquidity injections get out of hand and create inflation. Also, if things get worse, the Fed will expand its balance sheet further.

The Federal Reserve has launched the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility to facilitate the extension of credit to households and small businesses and anticipates that the range of eligible collateral for this facility is likely to be expanded to include other financial assets.

The Federal Reserve is facilitating the extension of credit to households and businesses and supporting the functioning of financial markets through a range of liquidity programs.

The TALF has not taken off so well, so they move from specifics to a more general statement of their “credit easing” programs.

The Committee will continue to carefully monitor the size and composition of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet in light of evolving financial and economic developments.The Committee will continue to carefully monitor the size and composition of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet in light of financial and economic developments.

Conditions are no longer evolving. 😉

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Elizabeth A. Duke; Charles L. Evans; Donald L. Kohn; Jeffrey M. Lacker; Dennis P. Lockhart; Daniel K. Tarullo; Kevin M. Warsh; and Janet L. Yellen.

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Elizabeth A. Duke; Charles L. Evans; Donald L. Kohn; Jeffrey M. Lacker; Dennis P. Lockhart; Daniel K. Tarullo; Kevin M. Warsh; and Janet L. Yellen.

No change.

The Upshot:

  • They think things are going their way.
  • They aren’t worried about inflation.
  • Job losses are beginning to build up.