Wednesday, March 14, 2012

US FOMC Holds Monetary Policy Settings Unchanged

The US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) kept the fed funds rate steady at 0 to 0.25 percent and made no changes to its balance sheet management and quantitative easing programs. The Fed said: "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 expects to maintain a highly accommodative stance for monetary policy. In particular, the Committee decided today to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently anticipates that economic conditions--including low rates of resource utilization and a subdued outlook for inflation over the medium run--are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014."

The Fed previously held policy settings unchanged also, while its last move was the announcement of the commencement of "operation twist" at its September meeting (and maintained that program, and the policy of reinvesting during today's meeting), after it held monetary policy settings unchanged at its August meeting, where it previously committed to low rates until 2013.  The US reported inflation of 3% in December, down from 3.9% in September, compared to 3.8% in August, and 3.6% in both July, June and May, up from 3.2% in April.  Meanwhile the US economy grew 1.8% in Q3, up from 1.3% in Q2, and 0.4% in Q1 this year.  


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