At the FOMC meeting today, the Fed announced no change to the Fed Funds Rate. This was expected. However, it is now expected there will be a rate hike at the upcoming FOMC meeting in mid-March. The Fed is on a path to end the taper program just prior to the mid-March meeting.
They will continue buying mortgage bonds along with government bonds, but now at an even lesser rate each month – buying at least $20 billion in government bonds and $10 billion in mortgage bonds starting in February. So the downward pressure exerted on Mortgage Rates continues for now, but will be ending this spring.
Below are the relevant press releases from today including the principles which they say they will try to adhere. The Fed is emphasizing their intention to be extremely orderly and deliberate in their actions. The backdrop for this is they are operating in an increasingly unpredictable world with respect to geopolitics and inflation, there are extremely volatile debt and equity markets, and they also have a very bad track record of relevant economic forecasting.
January 26, 2022
Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement
For release at 2:00 p.m. EST
Indicators of economic activity and employment have continued to strengthen. The sectors most adversely affected by the pandemic have improved in recent months but are being affected by the recent sharp rise in COVID-19 cases. Job gains have been solid in recent months, and the unemployment rate has declined substantially. Supply and demand imbalances related to the pandemic and the reopening of the economy have continued to contribute to elevated levels of inflation. Overall financial conditions remain accommodative, in part reflecting policy measures to support the economy and the flow of credit to U.S. households and businesses.
The path of the economy continues to depend on the course of the virus. Progress on vaccinations and an easing of supply constraints are expected to support continued gains in economic activity and employment as well as a reduction in inflation. Risks to the economic outlook remain, including from new variants of the virus.
The Committee seeks to achieve maximum employment and inflation at the rate of 2 percent over the longer run. In support of these goals, the Committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent. With inflation well above 2 percent and a strong labor market, the Committee expects it will soon be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate. The Committee decided to continue to reduce the monthly pace of its net asset purchases, bringing them to an end in early March. Beginning in February, the Committee will increase its holdings of Treasury securities by at least $20 billion per month and of agency mortgage‑backed securities by at least $10 billion per month. The Federal Reserve’s ongoing purchases and holdings of securities will continue to foster smooth market functioning and accommodative financial conditions, thereby supporting the flow of credit to households and businesses.
In assessing the appropriate stance of monetary policy, the Committee will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook. The Committee would be prepared to adjust the stance of monetary policy as appropriate if risks emerge that could impede the attainment of the Committee’s goals. The Committee’s assessments will take into account a wide range of information, including readings on public health, labor market conditions, inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and financial and international developments.
Voting for the monetary policy action were Jerome H. Powell, Chair; John C. Williams, Vice Chair; Michelle W. Bowman; Lael Brainard; James Bullard; Esther L. George; Patrick Harker; Loretta J. Mester; and Christopher J. Waller. Patrick Harker voted as an alternate member at this meeting.
January 26, 2022
Principles for Reducing the Size of the Federal Reserve’s Balance Sheet
For release at 2:00 p.m. EST
The Federal Open Market Committee agreed that it is appropriate at this time to provide information regarding its planned approach for significantly reducing the size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet. All participants agreed on the following elements:
The Committee views changes in the target range for the federal funds rate as its primary means of adjusting the stance of monetary policy.
The Committee will determine the timing and pace of reducing the size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet so as to promote its maximum employment and price stability goals. The Committee expects that reducing the size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet will commence after the process of increasing the target range for the federal funds rate has begun.
The Committee intends to reduce the Federal Reserve’s securities holdings over time in a predictable manner primarily by adjusting the amounts reinvested of principal payments received from securities held in the System Open Market Account (SOMA).
Over time, the Committee intends to maintain securities holdings in amounts needed to implement monetary policy efficiently and effectively in its ample reserves regime.
In the longer run, the Committee intends to hold primarily Treasury securities in the SOMA, thereby minimizing the effect of Federal Reserve holdings on the allocation of credit across sectors of the economy.
The Committee is prepared to adjust any of the details of its approach to reducing the size of the balance sheet in light of economic and financial developments.