(Reuters) - The following is an excerpt covering the Federal Open Market Committee’s discussion of monetary policy taken from the minutes of the FOMC’s June 13-14 meeting, which were released on Wednesday.
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“In their discussion of monetary policy for the period ahead, members judged that information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in May indicated that the labor market had continued to strengthen and that economic activity had been rising moderately so far this year. Job gains had moderated but had been solid, on average, since the beginning of the year, and the unemployment rate had declined. Household spending had picked up in recent months, and business fixed investment had continued to expand.
“Inflation on a 12-month basis had declined recently and was running somewhat below 2 percent. The measure of inflation excluding food and energy prices was likewise running somewhat below 2 percent. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remained low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations had changed little on balance.
“With respect to the economic outlook and its implications for monetary policy, members continued to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity would expand at a moderate pace, and labor market conditions would strengthen somewhat further. Inflation on a 12-month basis was expected to remain somewhat below 2 percent in the near term, but almost all members expected it to stabilize around 2 percent over the medium term, although they were monitoring inflation developments closely. Members continued to judge that there was significant uncertainty about the effects of possible changes in fiscal and other government policies but that near-term risks to the economic outlook appeared roughly balanced, especially as risks related to foreign economic and financial developments had diminished.
“After assessing current conditions and the outlook for economic activity, the labor market, and inflation, all but one member agreed to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1 to 1-1/4 percent. They noted that the stance of monetary policy remained accommodative, thereby supporting some further strengthening in labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2 percent inflation.
“Members agreed that, in determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee would assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation. This assessment would 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. Members also agreed that they would carefully monitor actual and expected developments in inflation in relation to the Committee’s symmetric inflation goal.They expected that economic conditions would evolve in a manner that would warrant gradual increases in the federal funds rate, and they agreed that the federal funds rate was likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run. However, the actual path of the federal funds rate would depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data.
“The Committee also decided to maintain its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. The Committee expected to begin implementing a balance sheet normalization program in 2017, provided that the economy evolves broadly as anticipated. This program, which would gradually reduce the Federal Reserve’s securities holdings by decreasing reinvestment of principal payments from those securities, was described in an addendum to the Committee’s Policy Normalization Principles and Plans to be released after this meeting.”
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