The Aleph Blog » Blog Archive » Redacted Version of the December 2013 FOMC Statement

Redacted Version of the December 2013 FOMC Statement

October 2013December 2013Comments
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in September generally suggests that economic activity has continued to expand at a moderate pace.Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in October indicates that economic activity is expanding at a moderate pace.Shades their view up, but I don’t see much to support it.
Indicators of labor market conditions have shown some further improvement, but the unemployment rate remains elevated.Labor market conditions have shown further improvement; the unemployment rate has declined but remains elevated.Weasel words because the participation rate is falling, and wages are stagnant.
Available data suggest that household spending and business fixed investment advanced, while the recovery in the housing sector slowed somewhat in recent months.Household spending and business fixed investment advanced, while the recovery in the housing sector slowed somewhat in recent months.No real change.  Language clearer.
Fiscal policy is restraining economic growth.Fiscal policy is restraining economic growth, although the extent of restraint may be diminishing.Shades fiscal drag down, but the deficit is shrinking, so where do they get this?
Apart from fluctuations due to changes in energy prices, inflation has been running below the Committee’s longer-run objective, but longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.Inflation has been running below the Committee’s longer-run objective, but longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.Calls energy special, but it plays into all we do.  TIPS are showing slightly higher inflation expectations since the last meeting. 5y forward 5y inflation implied from TIPS is near 2.65%, up 0.08% from September.
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 expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic growth will pick up from its recent pace and the unemployment rate will gradually decline toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate.The Committee expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic growth will pick up from its recent pace and the unemployment rate will gradually decline toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate.No change.  Monetary policy is omnipotent on the asset side, right?
The Committee sees the downside risks to the outlook for the economy and the labor market as having diminished, on net, since last fall.The Committee sees the risks to the outlook for the economy and the labor market as having become more nearly balanced.Financial conditions are looser.  That’s largely due to the loose monetary policy globally.
The Committee recognizes that inflation persistently below its 2 percent objective could pose risks to economic performance, but it anticipates that inflation will move back toward its objective over the medium term.The Committee recognizes that inflation persistently below its 2 percent objective could pose risks to economic performance, and it is monitoring inflation developments carefully for evidence that inflation will move back toward its objective over the medium term.Shades their view on inflation down.  CPI is at 1.2% now, yoy.
Taking into account the extent of federal fiscal retrenchment over the past year, the Committee sees the improvement in economic activity and labor market conditions since it began its asset purchase program as consistent with growing underlying strength in the broader economy.Taking into account the extent of federal fiscal retrenchment since the inception of its current asset purchase program, the Committee sees the improvement in economic activity and labor market conditions over that period as consistent with growing underlying strength in the broader economy.No significant change, but switches the spotlight to the asset purchase program, suggesting that it has helped.
However, the Committee decided to await more evidence that progress will be sustained before adjusting the pace of its purchases.Worthless sentence eliminated.
Accordingly, the Committee decided to continue purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month and longer-term Treasury securities at a pace of $45 billion per month. In light of the cumulative progress toward maximum employment and the improvement in the outlook for labor market conditions, the Committee decided to modestly reduce the pace of its asset purchases. Beginning in January, the Committee will add to its holdings of agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $35 billion per month rather than $40 billion per month, and will add to its holdings of longer-term Treasury securities at a pace of $40 billion per month rather than $45 billion per month. Reduces the purchase rate by $5 billion each on Treasuries and MBS 
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.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 change
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, which in turn should promote a stronger economic recovery and help to ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with the Committee’s dual mandate.The Committee’s sizable and still-increasing holdings of longer-term securities should maintain downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative, which in turn should promote a stronger economic recovery and help to ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with the Committee’s dual mandate.No real change.
The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments in coming months and will continue its purchases of Treasury and agency mortgage-backed securities, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate, until the outlook for the labor market has improved substantially in a context of price stability.The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments in coming months and will continue its purchases of Treasury and agency mortgage-backed securities, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate, until the outlook for the labor market has improved substantially in a context of price stability.No change. Useless paragraph.
In judging when to moderate the pace of asset purchases, the Committee will, at its coming meetings, assess whether incoming information continues to support the Committee’s expectation of ongoing improvement in labor market conditions and inflation moving back toward its longer-run objective. If incoming information broadly supports the Committee’s expectation of ongoing improvement in labor market conditions and inflation moving back toward its longer-run objective, the Committee will likely reduce the pace of asset purchases in further measured steps at future meetings. Says that purchases will likely continue to decline if the economy continues to improve.
Asset purchases are not on a preset course, and the Committee’s decisions about their pace will remain contingent on the Committee’s economic outlook as well as its assessment of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases.However, asset purchases are not on a preset course, and the Committee’s decisions about their pace will remain contingent on the Committee’s outlook for the labor market and inflation as well as its assessment of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases.No change.
To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee today reaffirmed its view 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 today reaffirmed its view 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.The Committee also reaffirmed its expectation that the current exceptionally low target range for the federal funds rate of 0 to 1/4 percent 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 2015, is currently 1.72%, down 6 bps since the last meeting.  Here’s the graph.  The FOMC has only ~1% of margin in their calculation.
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.No change.
The Committee now anticipates, based on its assessment of these factors, that it likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate well past the time that the unemployment rate declines below 6-1/2 percent, especially if projected inflation continues to run below the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run goal.New sentence.  Repetitive.
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; James Bullard; Charles L. Evans; Jerome H. Powell; Eric S. Rosengren; Jeremy C. Stein; Daniel K. Tarullo; and Janet L. Yellen.Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; James Bullard; Charles L. Evans; Esther L. George; Jerome H. Powell; Jeremy C. Stein; Daniel K. Tarullo; and Janet L. Yellen.No change
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.Voting against the action was Eric S. Rosengren, who believes that, with the unemployment rate still elevated and the inflation rate well below the target, changes in the purchase program are premature until incoming data more clearly indicate that economic growth is likely to be sustained above its potential rate.George in, Rosengren out.  Rosengren thinks any tapering is premature.

 

Comments

  • Small $10 B/month taper.  Equities rise, and long bonds fall.  Commodities do nothing.  The FOMC says that any future change to policy is contingent on almost everything.
  • Shades their views of GDP up and Inflation and fiscal drag down.
  • They think that if they use more words, they will be clearer.  Longer statements are harder to parse and understand.
  • 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 the past I have said, “When [holding down longer-term rates on the highest-quality debt] doesn’t work, what will they do?  I have to imagine that they are wondering whether QE works at all, given the recent rise in long rates.  The Fed is playing with forces bigger than themselves, and it isn’t dawning on them yet.
  • 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 much of the unemployment rate improvement comes more from discouraged workers, and part-time workers.





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2 Responses to Redacted Version of the December 2013 FOMC Statement

  1. Greg says:

    Executive summary: As faux-keynesians, today’s FOMC would love to continue QE forever — let the next generation worry about the fall out and consequences.

    Unfortunately for us, the market is not as static as our academic models suggest. We were forced to “taper” against our will.

    We are no longer “in control” of this runaway train (yes, we are academics and think we had control).

    Parting words from Ben to Janet: “Good luck! You are going to need it”

  2. […] How the Fed statement changed.  (Real Time Economics, Aleph Blog) […]

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