Federal Reserve: Economic Activity 'Decelerated'

01:23PM Aug 01, 2012
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The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), at the conclusion of its policy-setting meeting, said economic activity "decelerated somewhat over the first half of this year." It also says inflation has declined since earlier in the year and it pledged to maintain a "highly accommodative stance for monetary policy."

Link to full statement.

"Growth in employment has been slow in recent months, and the unemployment rate remains elevated. Business fixed investment has continued to advance. Household spending has been rising at a somewhat slower pace than earlier in the year," it states," "Despite some further signs of improvement, the housing sector remains depressed. Inflation has declined since earlier this year, mainly reflecting lower prices of crude oil and gasoline, and longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable."

The FOMC says it expects economic growth to remain moderate over coming quarters and then to pick up very gradually. "Consequently, the Committee anticipates that the unemployment rate will decline only slowly toward levels that it judges to be consistent with its dual mandate. Furthermore, strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook. The Committee anticipates that inflation over the medium term will run at or below the rate that it judges most consistent with its dual mandate," it states.

In keeping with its pledge to maintain a highly accommodative stance for monetary policy, the FOMC decided today to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0% to 0.25% and currently anticipates that economic conditions -- including low rates of resource utilization and a subdued outlook for inflation over the medium run--are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014.

"The Committee also decided to continue through the end of the year its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities as announced in June, and it is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities. The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments and will provide additional accommodation as needed to promote a stronger economic recovery and sustained improvement in labor market conditions in a context of price stability," it states.