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FOMC minutes: Participants expressed view that Fed could afford to be patient about further policy firming

The minutes from the Federal Reserve’s December 18-19 monetary policy meeting have been published with key highlights found below.

  • With regard to the outlook for monetary policy beyond this meeting, participants generally judged that some further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate would most likely be consistent with a sustained economic expansion, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near 2 percent over the medium term. 
  • Participants expressed that recent developments, including the volatility in financial markets and the increased concerns about global growth, made the appropriate extent and timing of future policy firming less clear than earlier. 
  •  Against this backdrop, many participants expressed the view that, especially in an environment of muted inflation pressures, the Committee could afford to be patient about further policy firming.
  • Participants emphasized that the Committee's approach to setting the stance of policy should be importantly guided by the implications of incoming data for the economic outlook.
  • They noted monetary policy was not on a preset course; neither the pace nor the ultimate endpoint of future rate increases was known. 
  • Several participants expressed the view that it might be appropriate over upcoming meetings to remove forward guidance entirely and replace it with language emphasizing the data-dependent nature of policy decisions.
  • In many cases, nonfinancial firms' earnings reports suggested that tariffs were a salient concern in the changed outlook for corporate earnings.

About the FOMC minutes

FOMC stands for The Federal Open Market Committee that organizes 8 meetings in a year and reviews economic and financial conditions, determines the appropriate stance of monetary policy and assesses the risks to its long-run goals of price stability and sustainable economic growth. FOMC Minutes are released by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve and are a clear guide to the future US interest rate policy.

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