Central Banks

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The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates by a quarter of a percent to 1.25% as had been expected by over 90 percent of the market (Fed Futures). The FOMC hikes maintained it's forecast for one more hike in 2017 and says it is 'monitoring inflation developments closely'. This follows a weak CPI report for May this morning. Kashkari dissented in favor keeping rates unchanged. Chairwoman Yellen will hold her regular new conference at 2:30 pm ET.

FOMC statement Highlights
- Expects to implement balance sheet normalization this year
- Fed will slowly halt reinvestment with adjustments quarterly until it reaches $30B per month in Treasuries and $20b/month in MBS, doesn't specify size of long run balance sheet
- For now will continue to reinvest expiring bonds until rate normalization is well underway
- Fed says normalization is well underway
- Sees economy and job market on more solid footing, now sees unemployment rate falling to 4.2% through 2019
- Household spending has picked up and fixed investment has continued to expand

Full Text

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in May indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising moderately so far this year. Job gains have moderated but have been solid, on average, since the beginning of the year, and the unemployment rate has declined. Household spending has picked up in recent months, and business fixed investment has continued to expand. On a 12-month basis, inflation has declined recently and, like the measure excluding food and energy prices, is running somewhat below 2 percent. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed, on balance.

Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, and labor market conditions will strengthen somewhat further. Inflation on a 12-month basis is expected to remain somewhat below 2 percent in the near term but to stabilize around the Committee's 2 percent objective over the medium term. Near term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced, but the Committee is monitoring inflation developments closely.

In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1 to 1-1/4 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.

In determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee will assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments. The Committee will carefully monitor actual and expected inflation developments relative to its symmetric inflation goal. 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.

The Committee 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 and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. The Committee currently expects to begin implementing a balance sheet normalization program this year, provided that the economy evolves broadly as anticipated. This program, which would gradually reduce the Federal Reserve's securities holdings by decreasing reinvestment of principal payments from those securities, is described in the accompanying addendum to the Committee's Policy Normalization Principles and Plans.

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; and Jerome H. Powell.

Voting against the action was Neel Kashkari, who preferred at this meeting to maintain the existing target range for the federal funds rate.

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