With officials still seeing risks to the economic outlook, the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy meeting suggest the central bank will not be in a hurry to begin scaling back its asset purchase program.
The Fed has repeatedly said it plans to continue to its asset purchases at a rate of at least $120 billion per month until “substantial further progress” has been made toward its goals of maximum employment and price stability.
The minutes of the June meeting reiterated Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s view that “substantial further progress” has not yet been met, although participants expected progress to continue.
While various participants expect conditions for beginning to reduce the pace of asset purchases to be met somewhat earlier than they had previously anticipated, others saw incoming data as providing a less clear signal about the underlying economic momentum.
The minutes said some participants determined the Fed would be able to make a better assessment in the coming months and emphasized the central bank should be “patient in assessing progress toward its goals and in announcing changes to its plans for asset purchases.”
At the same time, participants generally agreed that it was important for the Fed to be well positioned to reduce the pace of asset purchases, if appropriate, in response to unexpected economic developments.
The Fed said participants also agreed to continue assessing the economy‘s progress toward the central banks goals at coming meetings and to begin to discuss their plans for adjusting the path and composition of asset purchases.
“In addition, participants reiterated their intention to provide notice well in advance of an announcement to reduce the pace of purchases,” the Fed said.
The Fed’s next monetary policy meeting is currently scheduled for later this month, with the two-day meeting set to get underway on July 27th.
The minutes also noted the near-term outlook for inflation was revised up markedly, but the staff continued to expect the rise in inflation this year to be transitory.
Meanwhile, projections provided following the conclusion of the two-day meeting pointed to an increase in interest rates in 2023.
The latest projections from Fed officials suggest interest rates will be increased to 0.6 percent in 2023 compared to previous projections indicating rates would remain at near-zero levels.
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