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Real Time Insight

Minutes of the FOMC meeting held on Dec. 17-18, when they surprised the markets by announcing the “taper”, revealed a broad agreement for the decision.
 
Most members agreed that the cumulative improvement in labor market conditions and the likelihood that the improvement would be sustained indicated that the Committee could appropriately begin to slow the pace of its asset purchases”.
 
Only one member, (Boston Fed President Rosengren) said that the decision was premature.
 
However some members also expressed concern about the potential for a spike in interest rates “if a reduction in the pace of asset purchases was misinterpreted as signaling that the Committee was likely to withdraw policy accommodation more quickly than had been anticipated”.
 
So they decided that the Committee should indicate that “further reductions would be undertaken in measured steps and that the pace of asset purchases was not on a preset course".
 
Members agreed that labor market conditions had improved in recent months and while fiscal policy was still restraining growth, the extent to restraint had come down.
 
Investors were hoping that these minutes would provide some clues about the tapering timeline. But the minutes did not provide any new clues. They just reiterated that further action would be contingent on the “outlook for the labor market and inflation” as well as their assessment of the “efficacy and costs of purchases”.

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