The Aleph Blog » Blog Archive » Redacted Version of the March 2010 FOMC Statement

Redacted Version of the March 2010 FOMC Statement

January 2010March 2010Comments
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in December suggests that economic activity has continued to strengthen and that the deterioration in the labor market is abating.Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in January suggests that economic activity has continued to strengthen and that the labor market is stabilizing.They shade their views up a bit on the labor market.  I think that is premature.
Household spending is expanding at a moderate rate but remains constrained by a weak labor market, modest income growth, lower housing wealth, and tight credit.Household spending is expanding at a moderate rate but remains constrained by high unemployment, modest income growth, lower housing wealth, and tight credit.No real change, though they shade their views up a bit on the labor market.
Business spending on equipment and software appears to be picking up, but investment in structures is still contracting and employers remain reluctant to add to payrolls. Firms have brought inventory stocks into better alignment with sales.Business spending on equipment and software has risen significantly. However, investment in nonresidential structures is declining, housing starts have been flat at a depressed level, and employers remain reluctant to add to payrolls.Shading up their view on equipment and software.  Shades down housing.  Declares victory on inventories.
While bank lending continues to contract, financial market conditions remain supportive of economic growth.While bank lending continues to contract, financial market conditions remain supportive of economic growth.No change.
Although the pace of economic recovery is likely to be moderate for a time, the Committee anticipates a gradual return to higher levels of resource utilization in a context of price stability.Although the pace of economic recovery is likely to be moderate for a time, the Committee anticipates a gradual return to higher levels of resource utilization in a context of price stability.No change.
With substantial resource slack continuing to restrain cost pressures and with longer-term inflation expectations stable, inflation is likely to be subdued for some time.With substantial resource slack continuing to restrain cost pressures and longer-term inflation expectations stable, inflation is likely to be subdued for some time.No real change.
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.The Committee will maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 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.No change.  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 is in the process of purchasing $1.25 trillion of agency mortgage-backed securities and about $175 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 has been purchasing $1.25 trillion of agency mortgage-backed securities and about $175 billion of agency debt;No change.
In order to promote a smooth transition in markets, the Committee is gradually slowing the pace of these purchases, and it anticipates that these transactions will be executed by the end of the first quarter.those purchases are nearing completion, and the remaining transactions will be executed by the end of this month.No real change.
The Committee will continue to evaluate its purchases of securities in light of the evolving economic outlook and conditions in financial markets.The Committee will continue to monitor the economic outlook and financial developments and will employ its policy tools as necessary to promote economic recovery and price stability.Conflates comments elsewhere in the last month’s statement.  No real change.
In light of improved functioning of financial markets, the Federal Reserve will be closing 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 on February 1, as previously announced. In addition, the temporary liquidity swap arrangements between the Federal Reserve and other central banks will expire on February 1. The Federal Reserve is in the process of winding down its Term Auction Facility: $50 billion in 28-day credit will be offered on February 8 and $25 billion in 28-day credit wil be offered at the final auction on March 8. The anticipated expiration dates for the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility remain set at June 30 for loans backed by new-issue commercial mortgage-backed securities and March 31 for loans backed by all other types of collateral.In light of improved functioning of financial markets, the Federal Reserve has been closing the special liquidity facilities that it created to support markets during the crisis. The only remaining such program, the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, is scheduled to close on June 30 for loans backed by new-issue commercial mortgage-backed securities and on March 31 for loans backed by all other types of collateral.No real change.  This was all known in advance.
Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; James Bullard; Elizabeth A. Duke; Donald L. Kohn; Sandra Pianalto; Eric S. Rosengren; Daniel K. Tarullo; and Kevin M. Warsh. Voting against the policy action was Thomas M. Hoenig, who believed that economic and financial conditions had changed sufficiently that the expectation of exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period was no longer warranted.Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; James Bullard; Elizabeth A. Duke; Donald L. Kohn; Sandra Pianalto; Eric S. Rosengren; Daniel K. Tarullo; and Kevin M. Warsh. Voting against the policy action was Thomas M. Hoenig, who believed that continuing to express the expectation of exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period was no longer warranted because it could lead to the buildup of financial imbalances and increase risks to longer-run macroeconomic and financial stability. Hoenig dissents, as last month.  Thinks that we might be starting a new financial bubble.

Comments

  • Hoenig’s dissent is interesting, but not significant.  The regional bank presidents have lost a lot of effective authority since unconventional lending came into existence.
  • As has the Fed funds rate – so long as the Fed is buying long dated paper such as agency MBS, the Fed funds rate is not the pinnacle of monetary policy.
  • Watch capacity utilization, unemployment, inflation trends, and inflation expectations.
  • The FOMC shades up its certainty level on almost everything except real estate, where they seem to express more doubt.  I think that they are early regarding improvements in the labor market.
  • The MBS stimulus is basically done.  Watch the long end of the yield curve and mortgage rates for clues on how much the Fed distorted yields with their buying.  I suspect the it was around 50 basis points.





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2 Responses to Redacted Version of the March 2010 FOMC Statement

  1. I’m surprised to see you make a point of the statement on the labor market. Clearly things are not yet improving, but “stabilizing” doesn’t seem misguided to me. Do you think we still have a big rise in unemployment, or more than minor drops in NFP, ahead?

    Jim Fickett
    ClearOnMoney.com

  2. Jim, I think that over the next year, we won’t make a lot of progress on reducing unemployment *and* underemployment. I don’t think the increases in GDP will be sustained, and that bad debts will continue to be a drag on the economy.

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