Tuesday, March 16, 2010
As expected, the Federal Reserve left short-term interest rates unchanged a short time ago at the freakishly low level of between 0.0 and 0.25 percent and the accompanying monetary policy statement was virtually unchanged in substance from the last meeting.
This marks the 30th month since the current rate-cutting cycle began back in September of 2007 and, surprisingly, when using the last move back up for interest rates that began in mid-2004 as a guide, it would appear that we've got a whole year to go before rates would be expected to rise.
There was really nothing new in the policy statement aside from the current date, the names of the months that were referenced, and the tense of some of the verbs.
All lending facilities are on track to be wound down as previously announced and, by summer time, we will have exited the era of quantitative easing in the U.S. - for the time being at least.
Some might say that they've "upgraded" their view on the economy by noting that, for example, the labor market is "stabilizing" and that business spending has "risen significantly" versus the characterization that it was just "picking up" in the prior statement.
They haven't been very good in their forecasting in recent years, so, it's probably best not to make too much of this development.
The full text of the January and March statements are shown side-by-side below with all differences highlighted and the most controversial change was likely the omission of the word "with" in the second paragraph which was otherwise left unchanged: