March 14, 2017

Northwest FCS News

Meeting Date:  March 14-15, 2017
Economic Highlights
Inflation not quite on target.
“Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in February indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has continued to expand at a moderate pace. Job gains remained solid and the unemployment rate was little changed in recent months. Household spending has continued to rise moderately while business fixed investment appears to have firmed somewhat.  Inflation has increased in recent quarters, moving close to the Committee's 2 percent longer-run objective; excluding energy and food prices, inflation was little changed and continued to run somewhat below 2 percent.”
Policy Announcements
Rate increase by 0.25%.
“The Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 3/4 to 1 percent, up from 1/2 to 3/4  percent. The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting some further strengthening in labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2 percent inflation.”
Fed’s Security Holdings
No change from January 31-February 1 FOMC meeting; Fed balance sheet unchanged.
“The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities. Continue with policy of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction, and doing so until normalization of the level of the federal funds rate is well under way. This policy, by keeping the Committee's holdings of longer-term securities at sizable levels, should help maintain accommodative financial conditions.”
Forward Guidance
Rates to rise slowly and gradually, going forward.
“The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant gradual increases in the federal funds rate. The federal funds rate is 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 will depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data.”
Voting Results
One dissenting vote at this meeting.
Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were:  Janet L. Yellen, Chair; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Lael Brainard; Charles L. Evans; Stanley Fischer; Patrick Harker; Robert S. Kaplan; Jerome H. Powell; and Daniel K. Tarullo. Voting against the action was Neel Kashkari, who preferred at this meeting to maintain the existing target range for the federal funds rate.
Next Meeting:  May 2-3, 2017
The preceding information contains excerpts from an official published statement on the Federal Open Market Committee’s March 14-15, 2017 meeting.  For full text, please visit the Federal Reserve website.