What the Fed has to say: Rate Hikes On The Horizon

Fed Minutes March 2011The Federal Reserve released its March 15 meeting minutes Tuesday. The notes revealed a Federal Reserve split between optimism and caution for the U.S. economy.

The minutes’ official name is “Fed Minutes”. It’s a periodic publication, published 3 weeks after each meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. The FOMC meets 8 times annually, so the Fed Minutes is published 8 times annually, too.

Fed Minutes

The Fed Minutes is similar to the meeting minutes released after a condo board gets together, or after a meeting of the Board of Directors at a large corporation. The minutes give a detailed account of the important conversations and debates that occurred among the attendees.

At the Federal Reserve, those conversations are deep and, as such, the minutes are long; much longer than the more well-known, post-meeting press release anyway.

Whereas the press release is measured in paragraphs, the minutes are measured in pages.

Here is some of what the Fed discussed last month:

  • On inflation : Pressures are rising, but largely because of food costs and oil costs.
  • On housing : The market remains “depressed” with large inventory and weak demand.
  • On stimulus : The Fed will keep its $600 billion bond plan in place.

Fed Funds Rate

In addition, there was talk about ending the Federal Reserve’s accommodative monetary policy (i.e. the near-zero percent Fed Funds Rate). The FOMC’s voting members unanimously elected to leave the Fed Funds Rate near 0.000 percent last month, but there was talk of raising the benchmark rate later this year.

Conforming and FHA mortgage rates in Pleasanton are mostly unchanged since the Fed Minutes release.

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