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Redacted Version of the January 2013 Version of the FOMC Statement

December 2012January 2013Comments
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in October suggests that economic activity and employment have continued to expand at a moderate pace in recent months, apart from weather-related disruptions.Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in December suggests that growth in economic activity paused in recent months, in large part because of weather-related disruptions and other transitory factors.Shades GDP view down, finally.

Remember when the FOMC cited the Tsunami in Japan for economic weakness that would soon go away?  More grasping at straws.

Although the unemployment rate has declined somewhat since the summer, it remains elevated.Employment has continued to expand at a moderate pace but the unemployment rate remains elevated.No real change.

So long as discouraged workers increase, this is a meaningless statement.

Household spending has continued to advance, and the housing sector has shown further signs of improvement, but growth in business fixed investment has slowed.Household spending and business fixed investment advanced, and the housing sector has shown further improvement.Shades up their of business investment
Inflation has been running somewhat below the Committee’s longer-run objective, apart from temporary variations that largely reflect fluctuations in energy prices. Longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.Inflation has been running somewhat below the Committee’s longer-run objective, apart from temporary variations that largely reflect fluctuations in energy prices. Longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.No change.  TIPS are showing rising inflation expectations since the last meeting. 5y forward 5y inflation implied from TIPS is now at 2.86%.

The FOMC is wrong on inflation.

Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability.Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability.No change. Any time they mention the “statutory mandate,” it is to excuse bad policy.
The Committee remains concerned that, without sufficient policy accommodation, economic growth might not be strong enough to generate sustained improvement in labor market conditions. The Committee expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic growth will proceed at a moderate pace and the unemployment rate will gradually decline toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate. Emphasizes that the FOMC will keep doing the same thing and expect a different result than before. Monetary policy is omnipotent on the asset side, right?
Furthermore, strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook.Although strains in global financial markets have eased somewhat, the Committee continues to see downside risks to the economic outlook.Shades up their views of the financial markets.
The Committee also anticipates that inflation over the medium term likely will run at or below its 2 percent objective.The Committee also anticipates that inflation over the medium term likely will run at or below its 2 percent objective.No change. CPI is at 1.7% now, yoy, so that is quite a statement.
To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with its dual mandate, the Committee will continue purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month.To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with its dual mandate, the Committee will continue purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per monthNo change.

Does not mention how the twist will affect those that have to fund long-dated liabilities.

Wonder how long it will take them to saturate agency RMBS market?

 

The Committee also will purchase longer-term Treasury securities after its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of Treasury securities is completed at the end of the year, initially at a pace of $45 billion per month. The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and, in January, will resume rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction.and longer-term Treasury securities at a pace of $45 billion per month. The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction.No real change.  Operation Twist continues.  Additional absorption of long Treasuries commences.  Fed will make the empty “monetary base” move from $3 to 4 Trillion by the end of 2013.
Taken together, these actions should maintain downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative.Taken together, these actions should maintain downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative.No change.
The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments in coming months.The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments in coming months.No change. Useless comment.
If the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially, the Committee will continue its purchases of Treasury and agency mortgage-backed securities, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate, until such improvement is achieved in a context of price stability.If the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially, the Committee will continue its purchases of Treasury and agency mortgage-backed securities, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate, until such improvement is achieved in a context of price stability.No change.
In determining the size, pace, and composition of its asset purchases, the Committee will, as always, take appropriate account of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases.In determining the size, pace, and composition of its asset purchases, the Committee will, as always, take appropriate account of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases.No change.  The FOMC promises what it cannot know or deliver.
To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee expects that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends and the economic recovery strengthens.To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee expects that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends and the economic recovery strengthens.No change.

Promises that they won’t change until the economy strengthens.  Good luck with that.

In particular, the Committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently anticipates that this exceptionally low range for the federal funds rate will be appropriate at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6-1/2 percent, inflation between one and two years ahead is projected to be no more than a half percentage point above the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run goal, and longer-term inflation expectations continue to be well anchored.In particular, the Committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently anticipates that this exceptionally low range for the federal funds rate will be appropriate at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6-1/2 percent, inflation between one and two years ahead is projected to be no more than a half percentage point above the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run goal, and longer-term inflation expectations continue to be well anchored.Not a time limit but economic limits from inflation and employment.

Just ran the calculation – TIPS implied forward inflation one year forward for one year – i.e., a rough forecast for 2014, is currently 2.41%.  Here’s the graph.  The FOMC has only 0.09% of margin in their calculation if they are being honest, which I doubt.

 

The Committee views these thresholds as consistent with its earlier date-based guidance. The inaccurate sentence is deleted.
In determining how long to maintain a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy, the Committee will also consider other information, including additional measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial developments.In determining how long to maintain a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy, the Committee will also consider other information, including additional measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial developments.New sentence.  Giving yourself an out clause on the hard-and-fast promises made above?
When the Committee decides to begin to remove policy accommodation, it will take a balanced approach consistent with its longer-run goals of maximum employment and inflation of 2 percent.When the Committee decides to begin to remove policy accommodation, it will take a balanced approach consistent with its longer-run goals of maximum employment and inflation of 2 percent.No change.
Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Elizabeth A. Duke; Dennis P. Lockhart; Sandra Pianalto; Jerome H. Powell; Sarah Bloom Raskin; Jeremy C. Stein; Daniel K. Tarullo; John C. Williams; and Janet L. Yellen.Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; James Bullard; Elizabeth A. Duke; Charles L. Evans; Jerome H. Powell; Sarah Bloom Raskin; Eric S. Rosengren; Jeremy C. Stein; Daniel K. Tarullo; and Janet L. Yellen.No change
Voting against the action was Jeffrey M. Lacker, who opposed the asset purchase program and the characterization of the conditions under which an exceptionally low range for the federal funds rate will be appropriate.Voting against the action was Esther L. George, who was concerned that the continued high level of monetary accommodation increased the risks of future economic and financial imbalances and, over time, could cause an increase in long-term inflation expectations.Esther George takes up the thankless task of telling the FOMC that they are doing more harm than good.

 

Comments

  • I really think the FOMC lives in a fantasy world.  The economy is not improving materially, and inflation is rising. Note that the CPI is close their 2.5% line in the sand.  TIPS-implied inflation 1X1 (one year ahead for one year) is 2.41%, and 5X5 is 2.86% annualized.
  • Current proposed policy is an exercise in wishful thinking.  Monetary policy does not work in reducing unemployment, and I think we should end the charade.
  • In my opinion, I don’t think holding down longer-term rates on the highest-quality debt will have any impact on lower quality debts, which is where most of the economy finances itself. When this policy doesn’t work, what will they do?
  • Also, the investment in Agency MBS should have limited impact because so many owners are inverted, or ineligible for financing backed by the GSEs, and implicitly the government, even with the recently announced refinancing changes.
  • The key variables on Fed Policy are capacity utilization, unemployment, inflation trends, and inflation expectations.  As a result, the FOMC ain’t moving rates up, absent increases in employment, or a US Dollar crisis.  Labor employment is the key metric.
  • GDP growth is not improving much if at all, and the unemployment rate improvement comes more from discouraged workers.

A Statement to Dr. Bernanke:

More debt will not get us out of this crisis.  The Great Depression ended when enough debts were compromised, paid off, or cancelled, which from my study is 1941, before World War two started.

Your policies further aid the growth of the budget deficit, and encourage malinvestment in housing and banking, two things in a high degree of oversupply.  The investments in MBS only help solvent borrowers on the low end of housing, who don’t really need the help.  Holding down longer-term rates on the highest-quality debt does not have any impact on lower quality debts, which is where most of the economy finances itself.

The problems with unemployment are structural, not cyclical.  Labor force participation rates continue to decline.  There is greater labor competition around the world, forcing down wages on the low end.  There is nothing that monetary policy can do to change this.  You can create stagflation through your policies, but not prosperity.

When inflation does arrive, the FOMC is going to find it very hard to raise Fed Funds or shrink its balance sheet.  The banks will not react well as you try to shrink, and the long rates that you have held down will react violently.

You haven’t thought through all of the “second order” effects of your policy.  Even the “first order” effects, which favor the rich over the poor, seem to elude you.  Assets rise, helping the rich.  Interest rates fall, helping the rich who can borrow.  Commodity prices rise, harming the poor.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.  When will you realize that the policies of the Fed aren’t helping, and need to be abandoned?






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5 Responses to Redacted Version of the January 2013 Version of the FOMC Statement

  1. wearey3 says:

    David:
    You state again here that WWII began after 1941. The general understanding I’d always seen was that war began in 1939 with the invasion of Poland. One could posit then that the Depression in the US ended because of the war and the fat profits made by American corporations supplying both sides of the conflict .

    • I would be interested in any hard data that the US made a ton of money off of WWII 1939-41. All I know is that Debt/GDP finally hit normal levels in 1941.

      • wearey3 says:

        I am not an economist and hard figures are hard to come by. During the 1930s German defense spending multiplied 40 times, Russian 20 times. None of that leaked out?
        Both the British and Japanese used the cash and carry program to great advantage. Cash and carry was supplanted by lend lease when the British exhausted their cash purchasing US made material.
        Roosevelt began re-arming the US prior to 1941.
        My point is that the economic impacts from war and war preparations were felt in the US prior to 1941

  2. athreya says:

    I think he means US entered war in 1941 and so for all practical purposes WWII started in 1941. It’s like saying that history began in 1776:-)

  3. [...] How the FOMC’s statement changed.  (RTE, Aleph Blog) [...]

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