The Minutes of FOMC Sept. 21 Meeting

Several Fed officials were of the opinion that it would be appropriate to “take action soon” for a second round of QE to boost the economy, according to a summary released Tuesday of the discussion at the FOMC’s Sept. 21 meeting.

From the Fed:

Staff Economic Outlook :

In the economic forecast prepared for the September FOMC meeting, the staff lowered its projection for the increase in real economic activity over the second half of 2010. The staff also reduced slightly its forecast of growth next year but continued to anticipate a moderate strengthening of the expansion in 2011 as well as a further pickup in economic growth in 2012. The softer tone of incoming economic data suggested that the underlying level of demand was weaker than projected at the time of the August meeting. Moreover, the outlook for foreign economic activity also appeared a bit weaker. In the medium term, the recovery in economic activity was expected to receive support from accommodative monetary policy, further improvements in financial conditions, and greater household and business confidence. Over the forecast period, the increase in real GDP was projected to be sufficient to slowly reduce economic slack, although resource slack was anticipated to still remain elevated at the end of 2012.

Committee Policy Action:

In their discussion of monetary policy for the period immediately ahead, nearly all of the Committee members agreed that it would be appropriate to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate of 0 to 1/4 percent and to leave unchanged the level of the combined holdings of Treasury, agency debt, and agency mortgage-backed securities in the SOMA…..In light of the considerable uncertainty about the current trajectory for the economy, some members saw merit in accumulating further information before reaching a decision about providing additional monetary stimulus. In addition, members wanted to consider further the most effective framework for calibrating and communicating any additional steps to provide such stimulus. Several members noted that unless the pace of economic recovery strengthened or underlying inflation moved back toward a level consistent with the Committee’s mandate, they would consider it appropriate to take action soon….Members generally thought that the statement should note that the Committee was prepared to provide additional accommodation if needed to support the economic recovery and to return inflation, over time, to levels consistent with its mandate. Such an indication accorded with the members’ sense that such accommodation may be appropriate before long, but also made clear that any decisions would depend upon future information about the economic situation and outlook.”

[emphasis added]

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