Wednesday, October 7, 2020

FOMC minutes - fiscal stimulus, interest rate policy, asset purchases

The Federal Reserve released the minutes of its September 15-16 Federal Open Market Committee meeting today. Three takeaways

  1. The Fed expects more fiscal stimulus
    • "Fiscal policy measures, along with the support from monetary policy and the Federal Reserve's liquidity and lending facilities, were expected to continue supporting the second-half recovery, although the recovery was forecast to be far from complete by year-end. The staff's forecast assumed the enactment of some additional fiscal policy support this year; without that additional policy action, the pace of the economic recovery would likely be slower."
  2. There is a lack of consensus about interest rate policy
    • Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari prefers stronger guidance. He wants to keep interest rates low until inflation has moved above 2 percent for some time.
    • Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan is worried about limiting the Committee's flexibility in future years. He doesn't want to commit to keeping the fed funds near zero until employment and inflation criteria are met, and he's concerned about the buildup of financial imbalances.
  3. In future meetings the Fed will review and communicate how its asset purchase program is helping to achieve its goals of maximum employment and price stability
    • It is currently buying $80 billion of Treasuries and $40 billion of agency mortgage-backed securities per month to decrease market interest rates.

Headlines focused on each of these topics: 

  1. Fiscal stimulus
  2. Interest rate policy
  3. Asset purchase program

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