- Projects 6.5% GDP contraction this year
BusinessMetricsNG with wire report
The Federal Reserve decided on Wednesday to hold interest rates steady at near-zero, signaling its intention to support a post-COVID economic recovery by keeping rates at the lower bound through at least 2022.
“We’re not thinking about raising rates,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in a press conference. “We’re not even thinking about thinking about raising rates.”
The Fed’s statement noted that financial conditions “have improved,” pointing to optimism over an economic recovery. In addition to keeping rates in its target range of 0% and 0.25%, the Fed statement also committed to increasing its asset purchases “over coming months.”
In a set of new economic projections, most of the 17 members of the Federal Open Market Committee appeared to support keeping the federal funds rate at the zero bound through the forecast horizon of 2022. In “dot plots” mapping out each members’ forecasts, only two policymakers saw a case for hiking rates in 2022 (one of which saw four rates hikes by the end of 2022).
By keeping rates low through at least 2022, the Fed hopes it will be able to steer the economy back to its pre-pandemic shape. The decision to hold rates at near-zero was unanimously agreed upon.
FOMC Statement and Implementation Note from Its June 9-10 Meeting
The Federal Reserve is committed to using its full range of tools to support the U.S. economy in this challenging time, thereby promoting its maximum employment and price stability goals.
The coronavirus outbreak is causing tremendous human and economic hardship across the United States and around the world. The virus and the measures taken to protect public health have induced sharp declines in economic activity and a surge in job losses. Weaker demand and significantly lower oil prices are holding down consumer price inflation. Financial conditions have improved, in part reflecting policy measures to support the economy and the flow of credit to U.S. households and businesses.
The ongoing public health crisis will weigh heavily on economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near term, and poses considerable risks to the economic outlook over the medium term. In light of these developments, the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent. The Committee expects to maintain this target range until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve its maximum employment and price stability goals.
The Committee will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook, including information related to public health, as well as global developments and muted inflation pressures, and will use its tools and act as appropriate to support the economy. In determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the stance of monetary policy, the Committee will assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its maximum employment objective and its symmetric 2 percent inflation objective. This assessment will 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.
To support the flow of credit to households and businesses, over coming months the Federal Reserve will increase its holdings of Treasury securities and agency residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities at least at the current pace to sustain smooth market functioning, thereby fostering effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions. In addition, the Open Market Desk will continue to offer large-scale overnight and term repurchase agreement operations. The Committee will closely monitor developments and is prepared to adjust its plans as appropriate.
Implementation Note: Decisions Regarding Monetary Policy Implementation
The Federal Reserve has made the following decisions to implement the monetary policy stance announced by the Federal Open Market Committee in its statement on June 10, 2020:
- The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System voted unanimously to maintain the interest rate paid on required and excess reserve balances at 0.10 percent, effective June 11, 2020.
- As part of its policy decision, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to authorize and direct the Open Market Desk at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, until instructed otherwise, to execute transactions in the System Open Market Account in accordance with the following domestic policy directive:
“Effective June 11, 2020, the Federal Open Market Committee directs the Desk to:
- Undertake open market operations as necessary to maintain the federal funds rate in a target range of 0 to 1/4 percent.
- Increase the System Open Market Account holdings of Treasury securities, agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS), and agency commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) at least at the current pace to sustain smooth functioning of markets for these securities, thereby fostering effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions.
- Conduct term and overnight repurchase agreement operations to support effective policy implementation and the smooth functioning of short-term U.S. dollar funding markets.
- Conduct overnight reverse repurchase agreement operations at an offering rate of 0.00 percent and with a per-counterparty limit of $30 billion per day; the per-counterparty limit can be temporarily increased at the discretion of the Chair.
- Roll over at auction all principal payments from the Federal Reserve’s holdings of Treasury securities and reinvest all principal payments from the Federal Reserve’s holdings of agency debt and agency MBS in agency MBS and all principal payments from holdings of agency CMBS in agency CMBS.
- Allow modest deviations from stated amounts for purchases and reinvestments, if needed for operational reasons.
- Engage in dollar roll and coupon swap transactions as necessary to facilitate settlement of the Federal Reserve’s agency MBS transactions.”
In a related action, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System voted unanimously to approve the establishment of the primary credit rate at the existing level of 0.25 percent.
This information will be updated as appropriate to reflect decisions of the Federal Open Market Committee or the Board of Governors regarding details of the Federal Reserve’s operational tools and approach used to implement monetary policy.
Source: The Federal Reserve (US)