January 27, 2022

Northwest FCS News

Meeting Date: Jan. 25-26, 2022

Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Meeting Results

FOMC highlights:

1. The Fed pledges to use its full range of tools to assist the economy. The Fed did not change rates - it keeps the interest rate range at 0.0% - 0.25%.

2. The Fed gave a hint that it will begin to increase its policy rate soon (possibly at the March 2022 FOMC meeting).

3. The Fed claims that progress on COVID-19 vaccinations has helped, and the economy is much stronger because of it. 

4. The Federal Reserve announced that it will speed up the taper of its bond buying. Bond buying to end by March of 2022.

5. FOMC gives policy guidance on the future size of its balance sheet.

Economic Highlights: 

Job growth and economic activity continue to strengthen, but inflation is high.

  • “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.”

Fed funds rate unchanged.  Fed funds range remains at 0.0% -0.25%, but suggests higher rates are on the way. Plus, the Fed will accelerate the reduction of monthly securities purchases. Bond buying to end in March 2022.

  • “The Committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0.0%-0.25%. With inflation well above 2% 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.”
  • The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System voted unanimously to maintain the interest rate paid on reserve balances at 0.15%, effective Jan. 27, 2022.
  • 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.
Voting Results: No dissenting votes

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.
Next Meeting: March 15-16, 2022