Fed Meeting Minutes Reveal Mixed Feelings on Asset Purchase Program
The Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC, released its latest meeting minutes (link opens as PDF) today, and feelings are mixed on the economy's future. While household spending and business investments continued to improve, some Committee members pointed to fiscal policy as the main drag on lower-than-expected spending for the first half of 2013.
Generally speaking, the FOMC remains optimistic about the future, believing that real GDP growth will continue to improve in the months and years to come. However, a "number of participants" felt that higher mortgage rates, expensive oil, slowing exports, and the looming shadow of fiscal restraint could cut into short-term recoveries.
Looking ahead, the Committee generally agreed that, if economic conditions improved as much as expected over the next few months, the FOMC would consider cutting back on its securities asset purchases "later this year." And if conditions continue to improve through mid-2014, the Committee might potentially plug the purchase program altogether.
Eleven members voted for the FOMC's action, while Kansas City Fed President Esther George voted against it. George's apprehension centered around the Committee's decision to remain relatively aloof on asset purchases, rather than making a firm stance on near-term reductions.
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