FOMC minutes: Fed policymakers agreed that details of balance sheet plan should be announced soon

The minutes from the May (2nd & 3rd) Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting have been published, highlighting that nearly all Fed policymakers expressed a favorable view of the staff proposal as a way to reduce central bank holdings in a gradual and predictable manner.

Key headlines (via Reuters):

  • U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers said "prudent" to wait for further evidence that recent weak economic data was transitory before raising interest rates again
  • Fed officials said they expected weakness would pass and that it would "soon be appropriate" to raise rates if those expectations were met
  • Fed staff presented plan to set gradually increasing limits on balance sheet reinvestment that would start low and be raised every three months over a set period of time until fully phased in
  • Nearly all Fed policymakers expressed a favorable view of the staff proposal as a way to reduce central bank holdings in a gradual and predictable manner
  • Fed policymakers agreed that details of balance sheet plan should be announced soon, with start of reductions appropriate this year
  • Most Fed officials viewed recent soft inflation as "transitory," though a few raised concerns that progress toward the central bank's 2 percent target had slowed
  • Many Fed officials said they continued to see possible upside risks from an expansionary U.S. Fiscal policy, but noted uncertainty around outcome of Trump administration economic proposals
  • In general, Fed officials said their assessment of the economy had changed little since the March policy meeting, with the labor market continuing to improve and risks from the global economy receding
  • Fed officials said they expected a rebound in consumer spending in coming months in light of solid economic fundamentals
  • Fed officials said they saw near-term risks to the economic outlook as roughly balanced, though several noted global geopolitical uncertainty and possible emerging market strains as U.S. Rates rise

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