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FOMC Minutes "Purposefully moving to a restrictive policy stance in the near term"


by Calculated Risk on 10/12/2022 02:06:00 PM

“Purposefully moving” towards a more restrictive policy.

From the Fed: Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, September 20-21, 2022. Excerpt:

In their assessment of the effects of policy actions and communications to date, participants concurred that the Committee’s actions to raise expeditiously the target range for the federal funds rate demonstrated its resolve to lower inflation to 2 percent and to keep inflation expectations anchored at levels consistent with that longer-run goal. Participants noted that the Committee’s commitment to restoring price stability, together with its purposeful policy actions and communications, had contributed to a notable tightening of financial conditions over the past year that would likely help reduce inflation pressures by restraining aggregate demand. Participants observed that this tightening had led to substantial increases in real interest rates across the maturity spectrum. Most participants remarked that, although some interest-sensitive categories of spending–such as housing and business fixed investment–had already started to respond to the tightening of financial conditions, a sizable portion of economic activity had yet to display much response. They noted also that inflation had not yet responded appreciably to policy tightening and that a significant reduction in inflation would likely lag that of aggregate demand. Participants observed that a period of real GDP growth below its trend rate, very likely accompanied by some softening in labor market conditions, was required. They agreed that, by moving its policy purposefully toward an appropriately restrictive stance, the Committee would help ensure that elevated inflation did not become entrenched and that inflation expectations did not become unanchored. These policy moves would therefore prevent the far greater economic pain associated with entrenched high inflation, including the even tighter policy and more severe restraint on economic activity that would then be needed to restore price stability.

In light of the broad-based and unacceptably high level of inflation, the intermeeting news of higher-than-expected inflation, and upside risks to the inflation outlook, participants remarked that purposefully moving to a restrictive policy stance in the near term was consistent with risk-management considerations. Many participants emphasized that the cost of taking too little action to bring down inflation likely outweighed the cost of taking too much action. Several participants underlined the need to maintain a restrictive stance for as long as necessary, with a couple of these participants stressing that historical experience demonstrated the danger of prematurely ending periods of tight monetary policy designed to bring down inflation. Several participants observed that as policy moved into restrictive territory, risks would become more two-sided, reflecting the emergence of the downside risk that the cumulative restraint in aggregate demand would exceed what was required to bring inflation back to 2 percent. A few of these participants noted that this possibility was heightened by factors beyond the Committee’s actions, including the tightening of monetary policy stances abroad and the weakening global economic outlook, that were also likely to restrain domestic economic activity in the period ahead.
emphasis added

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