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Fed avoids providing timeline for start of 'tapering', FOMC minutes show

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Tuesday 19 Oct 2021

Fed avoids providing timeline for start of 'tapering', FOMC minutes show

(Sharecast News) - US central bankers began a discussion on when to start restricting their extraordinary policy support when they last met, the minutes of their gathering revealed.
Yet they did not want to signal that a change in policy was near.

Instead, their intention appeared to be to prepare in case they needed to move more quickly.

"The committee's standard of 'substantial further progress' was generally seen as not having yet been met, though participants expected progress to continue," the minutes of the 15-16 June Federal Open Market Committee meeting read.

"Various participants mentioned that they expected the conditions for beginning to reduce the pace of asset purchases to be met somewhat earlier than they had anticipated at previous meetings," the minutes continued.

Even so, "several [FOMC] participants" emphasised "that uncertainty around the economic outlook was elevated and that it was too early to draw firm conclusions about the paths of the labor market and inflation."

Worth noting, while inflation was "generally" expected to slow, a "substantial majority" judged the risks to inflation lay to the upside.

On that note, Mickey Levy at Berenberg Capital Markets said: "Since the Fed's June 15-16 meeting, of note, U.S. Treasury bond yields have fallen significantly, flattening the yield curve and dragging down market-based measures of inflationary expectations.

"Insofar as the Fed has asserted that keeping inflationary expectations anchored to 2% is important, this seems to provide the Fed flexibility in its deliberations of when and how to begin normalizing its monetary policy."

Philip Marey at Rabobank meanwhile told clients that "the rate trajectory of the March [Summary of Economic] projections would put the Fed far behind the curve if inflation was going to be more permanent.

"Therefore in June, in order to hedge the risk that inflation could prove more permanent, social justice was thrown overboard in a heartbeat. This is the only preference that was revealed clearly in the June projections."

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