Fed Leaves 2016 Rate Hike Option Open


Fed policymakers considered that near-term risks to the US outlook had diminished although the UK vote to leave the EU and other developments abroad still impart uncertainty. As a result, Fed officials decided to leave policy options open and maintain the flexibility to adjust rates based on incoming information, thus leaving the door open for a rate hike this year, minutes from FOMC meeting held on July 26-27th showed.

Extracts From the Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee:
While members judged that near-term risks to the domestic outlook had diminished, some noted that the U.K. vote, along with other developments abroad, still imparted significant uncertainty to the medium- to longer-term outlook for foreign economies, with possible consequences for the U.S. outlook. As a result, members agreed to indicate that they would continue to closely monitor global economic and financial developments.

After assessing the outlook for economic activity, the labor market, and inflation, as well as the risks around that outlook, members decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1/4 to 1/2 percent at this meeting. Members generally agreed that, before taking another step in removing monetary accommodation, it was prudent to accumulate more data in order to gauge the underlying momentum in the labor market and economic activity. A couple of members preferred also to wait for more evidence that inflation would rise to 2 percent on a sustained basis. Some other members anticipated that economic conditions would soon warrant taking another step in removing policy accommodation. One member preferred to raise the target range for the federal funds rate at the current meeting, citing the easing of financial conditions since the U.K. referendum, the return to trend economic growth, solid job growth, and inflation moving toward 2 percent.

Members again agreed that, in determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee would assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation. They noted that this assessment would take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments. The Committee expected that economic conditions would evolve in a manner that would warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate, and that the federal funds rate was likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run. However, members emphasized that the actual path of the federal funds rate would depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data. In that regard, members judged it appropriate to continue to leave their policy options open and maintain the flexibility to adjust the stance of policy based on incoming information and its implications for the Committee's assessment of the outlook for economic activity, the labor market, and inflation, as well as the risks to the outlook. Most members noted that effective communications from the Committee would help the public understand how monetary policy might respond to incoming data and developments.

Fed Leaves 2016 Rate Hike Option Open


Federal Reserve | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com
8/17/2016 7:31:57 PM