Redacted Version of the December FOMC Statement

November
2009
December
2009
Comments

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in September suggests that economic activity has continued to pick up.

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in November suggests that economic activity has continued to pick up and that the deterioration in the labor market is abating.

They think that the labor market is getting
worse but at a very slow rate.

Activity in the housing sector has
increased over recent months.

The housing sector has shown some
signs of improvement over recent months.

No real change.
Household spending appears to be expanding but remains constrained by ongoing job losses, sluggish income growth, lower housing wealth, and tight credit.Household spending appears to be expanding at a moderate rate, though it remains constrained by a weak labor market, modest income growth, lower housing wealth, and tight credit.Shading up income growth, shading down unemployment.
Businesses are still cutting back on fixed investment and staffing, though at a slower pace; they continue to make progress in bringing inventory stocks into better alignment with sales.Businesses are still cutting back on fixed investment, though at a slower pace, and remain reluctant to add to payrolls; they continue to make progress in bringing inventory stocks into better alignment with sales. More shading unemployment downward.

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Conditions in financial markets were roughly unchanged, on balance, over the intermeeting period.Financial market conditions have become more supportive of economic growth.Sentence moved from higher up in the statement. More optimistic.
Although economic activity is likely to remain weak for a time, the Committee anticipates that policy actions to stabilize financial markets and institutions, fiscal and monetary stimulus, and market forces will support a strengthening of economic growth and a gradual return to higher levels of
resource utilization in a context of price stability.
Although economic activity is likely to remain weak for a time, the Committee anticipates that policy actions to stabilize
financial markets and institutions, fiscal and monetary stimulus, and market forces will contribute to a strengthening of economic growth and a gradual return to higher levels of resource utilization in a context of price stability.
No real change.
With substantial resource slack likely to continue to dampen cost pressures and with longer-term inflation expectations stable, the Committee expects that inflation will remain subdued for some
time.
With substantial resource slack likely to continue to dampen cost pressures and with longer-term inflation expectations stable, the Committee expects that inflation will remain subdued for some
time.
No change.
In these circumstances, the Federal Reserve will continue to employ a wide range of tools to promote economic recovery
and to preserve price stability.
A useless sentence eliminated.
The Committee will maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to ¼ percent and continues to anticipate that economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low
levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period.
The Committee will maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to ¼ percent and continues to anticipate that economic conditions, including low rates of resource utilization, subdued inflation trends, and stable inflation expectations, are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period. This gives you the trigger for when they will raise the Fed Funds rate. As I said last month, watch capacity utilization, unemployment, inflation trends,
and inflation expectations.
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$1.25 trillion of agency mortgage-backed securities and up to $200 billion of agency debt.To provide support to mortgage lending and housing markets and to improve overall conditions in private credit markets, the Federal Reserve is in the process of purchasing $1.25 trillion of agency mortgage-backed securities and about $175 billion of agency debt. No real change. We knew this from prior announcements.
The Committee will gradually slow the pace of these purchases in order to promote a smooth transition in markets and
anticipates that they will be executed by the end of the first quarter of 2010.
Sentence no longer needed.


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In light of ongoing improvements in the functioning of financial markets, the Committee and the Board of Governors anticipate that most of the Federal Reserve’s special liquidity facilities will expire on February 1, 2010, consistent with the Federal Reserve’s announcement of June 25, 2009. These facilities include the Asset-Backed Commercial Paper Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility, the Commercial Paper Funding Facility, the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, and the Term
Securities Lending Facility. The Federal Reserve will also be working with its central bank counterparties to close its temporary liquidity swap
arrangements by February 1. The Federal Reserve expects that amounts provided under the Term Auction Facility will continue to be scaled back in early 2010. The anticipated expiration dates for the Term Asset-Backed Securities
Loan Facility remain set at June 30, 2010, for loans backed by new-issue commercial mortgage-backed securities and March 31, 2010, for loans backed by
all other types of collateral.
New sentence. This was well-disclosed in advance. That part of the Fed balance sheet has been shrinking for some time. The real elephant is what the Fed does with the MBS.
As previously announced, the Federal Reserve’s purchases of $300 billion of Treasury securities will be completed by the end of October 2009. Treasury program is done.
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.
A useless sentence eliminated.
The Federal Reserve is monitoring the size and composition of its balance sheet and will make adjustments to its credit and liquidity programs as warranted.The Federal Reserve is prepared to modify these plans if necessary to support financial stability and economic growth.No real change. Another useless sentence.
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.


Comments

  • The FOMC sees unemployment and GDP growth improving in the near term.  I would not be so sure.
  • Ignore the long new sentence about the liquidity programs going away.  We knew that was coming.  The critical issue at present is what the Fed will do with all of the MBS it owns.  There is no easy way to shrink that without affecting the long end of the yield curve negatively.
  • The Fed is more optimistic about the financial markets, but I am not sure why.
  • As I said last month, the trigger for when the Fed will raise the Fed Funds rate is this:
    • watch capacity utilization
    • unemployment
    • inflation trends
    • inflation expectations.