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Economy in Brief

FOMC Reinforces its Expectation for Moderate Economic Growth and Low Inflation
by Tom Moeller  March 18, 2015

At today's meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed indicated its continued expectation for moderate economic growth and improving labor market conditions. It stated that consumer spending was benefitting from the decline in oil prices; business spending was advancing but residential investment had weakened. Focusing on the labor market, the Fed indicated that underutilization of resources "continued to diminish."

Inflation was viewed as under control, helped by the decline in oil prices. Moreover, inflation compensation remained low and "longer-term inflation expectations remained stable." The Fed's long-run inflation goal is 2 percent.

The risks to the business outlook were viewed as balanced. GDP growth of 2.5% during 2015 and 2016 was expected, then diminishing to 2.2% in 2017. PCE inflation of 0.70% this year was expected, then rising to 1.80% next year and 1.95% in 2017, with moderate increases in core pricing power. The unemployment rate was expected to steadily decline to 4.95% by the end of 2017.

As a result of these views, the Fed elected to leave its target for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent.

The press release for today's FOMC meeting can be found here.

The backdrop to today's meeting was a recent pickup in M2 growth to 6.5% from its October low of 5.1%, but a decline the monetary base of 2.3% y/y.

Haver's SURVEYS database contains the economic projections from the Federal Reserve Board.

Current Last 2013 2012 2011 2010
Federal Funds Rate, % (Target) 0.00-0.25 0.00-0.25 0.11 0.14 0.10 0.17
Discount Rate, % 0.75 0.75 0.75 0.75 0.75 0.72
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