Today's FOMC Meeting Statement - The Fed Defines "Autumn"

By: Paul Kasriel | Wed, Aug 12, 2009
Print Email

We suppose the biggest news from today's FOMC meeting statement is that it put a time (sort of) certain on the end of its Treasury coupon buying binge - October. In the June 24 policy statement, the FOMC said that the Treasury coupon purchase program would wrap-up in the "autumn." In effect, the Fed is stretching out the "weaning" period before it makes the market fend completely for itself in finding buyers for Treasury coupons in as much as the current pace of Fed purchases would have exhausted its allotment prior to October. One might argue that the longer the Fed keeps the buying program in place, the more latitude it might have in increasing the size of the program. Along with the consensus view (did you expect anything different from the Fed?), the FOMC is a bit more optimistic about the near-term economic environment, changing its language to "economic activity is leveling out" from the June 24 meeting's "the pace of economic contraction is slowing." But not to get too exuberant about the outlook, the FOMC commented that household spending would be constrained by "sluggish income growth," in addition to the other constraining factors mentioned in the June 24 statement - "ongoing job losses, lower household wealth, and tight credit." With the FOMC expecting "that inflation will remain subdued for some time" and anticipating that "economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period," it is obvious that it has no intention of hiking the federal funds rate target between now and September 22-23, the next scheduled Committee meeting. Given our current view that the recovery is going to be subdued and uneven over the next several quarters, we do not expect any funds rate increases from the FOMC until June 2010, at the earliest.



Paul Kasriel

Author: Paul Kasriel

Paul L. Kasriel
Director of Economic Research
The Northern Trust Company
Economic Research Department
Positive Economic Commentary
"The economics of what is, rather than what you might like it to be."
50 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60675

Paul Kasriel

Paul joined the economic research unit of The Northern Trust Company in 1986 as Vice President and Economist, being named Senior Vice President and Director of Economic Research in 2000. His economic and interest rate forecasts are used both internally and by clients. The accuracy of the Economic Research Department's forecasts has consistently been highly-ranked in the Blue Chip survey of about 50 forecasters over the years. To that point, Paul received the prestigious 2006 Lawrence R. Klein Award for having the most accurate economic forecast among the Blue Chip survey participants for the years 2002 through 2005. The accuracy of Paul's 2008 economic forecast was ranked in the top five of The Wall Street Journal survey panel of economists. In January 2009, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes cited Paul as one of the few who identified early on the formation of the housing bubble and foresaw the economic and financial market havoc that would ensue after the bubble inevitably burst. Through written commentaries containing his straightforward and often nonconsensus analysis of economic and financial market issues, Paul has developed a loyal following in the financial community. The Northern's economic website was listed as one of the top ten most interesting by The Wall Street Journal. Paul is the co-author of a book entitled Seven Indicators That Move Markets.

Paul began his career as a research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He has taught courses in finance at the DePaul University Kellstadt Graduate School of Business and at the Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Paul serves on the Economic Advisory Committee of the American Bankers Association.

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of The Northern Trust Company. The information herein is based on sources which The Northern Trust Company believes to be reliable, but we cannot warrant its accuracy or completeness. Such information is subject to change and is not intended to influence your investment decisions.

Copyright © 2005-2012 The Northern Trust Company

All Images, XHTML Renderings, and Source Code Copyright ©