Fed mulls changes to the way it gives projections, holds off

NEW YORK Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:59pm EST

NEW YORK Feb 20 (Reuters) - U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers considered changing the way they unveil their own personal predictions for where interest rates should be in future years, but decided for now to leave things as they are due to the complexity of the matter.

Minutes from the Fed's Jan. 29-30 policy meeting showed general agreement among the 19 policymakers that it would be useful to add a median projection to forecast charts that are published at the close of such meetings.

The charts, known as the Summary of Economic Projections, or SEPs, show where individual policymakers expect the key federal funds rate to be up to four years into the future, as well as in the longer run. They also show when policymakers expect the first rate rise to come, given rates have been near zero since late 2008.

"Most of the options involved displaying the information currently collected from participants in new ways by using different summary statistics or aggregations," the minutes said.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke ultimately asked a subcommittee to explore different approaches to giving more information in the SEPs, according to the minutes.

The SEPs do not identify the individual policymakers.

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