Many Fed officials saw that the case for a somewhat more accommodative monetary policy had strengthened amid heightened uncertainties about the economic outlook and muted inflation pressures, minutes of the June meeting showed. Still, some participants agreed that there was not yet a strong case for a rate cut from current levels as they preferred to gather more information on the trajectory of the economy before concluding that a change in policy stance is warranted.
Excerpts from the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, June 18-19, 2019:
With regard to the outlook for monetary policy beyond this meeting, nearly all participants had revised down their assessment of the appropriate path for the federal funds rate over the projection period in their SEP submissions, and some had marked down their estimates of the longer-run normal level of the funds rate as well. Many participants indicated that the case for somewhat more accommodative policy had strengthened. Participants widely noted that the global developments that led to the heightened uncertainties about the economic outlook were quite recent. Many judged additional monetary policy accommodation would be warranted in the near term should these recent developments prove to be sustained and continue to weigh on the economic outlook. Several others noted that additional monetary policy accommodation could well be appropriate if incoming information showed further deterioration in the outlook. Participants stated a variety of reasons that would call for a lower path of the federal funds rate. Several participants noted that a near-term cut in the target range for the federal funds rate could help cushion the effects of possible future adverse shocks to the economy and, hence, was appropriate policy from a risk-management perspective. Some participants also noted that the continued shortfall in inflation risked a softening of inflation expectations that could slow the sustained return of inflation to the Committee's 2 percent objective. Several participants pointed out that they had revised down their estimates of the longer-run normal rate of unemployment and, as a result, saw a smaller upward contribution to inflation pressures from tight resource utilization than they had earlier. A few participants were concerned that inflation expectations had already moved below levels consistent with the Committee's symmetric 2 percent objective and that it was important to provide additional accommodation in the near term to bolster inflation expectations. A few participants judged that allowing inflation to run above 2 percent for some time could help strengthen the credibility of the Committee's commitment to its symmetric 2 percent inflation objective.
Some participants suggested that although they now judged that the appropriate path of the federal funds rate would follow a flatter trajectory than they had previously assumed, there was not yet a strong case for a rate cut from current levels. They preferred to gather more information on the trajectory of the economy before concluding that a change in policy stance is warranted. A few participants expressed the view that with the economy still in a favorable position in terms of the dual mandate, an easing of policy in an attempt to increase inflation a few tenths of a percentage point risked overheating the labor markets and fueling financial imbalances. Several participants observed that the trimmed mean measure of PCE price inflation constructed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas had stayed near 2 percent recently, underscoring the view that the recent low readings on inflation will prove transitory.
7/10/2019 6:19:39 PM