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Fed takes no actions now, signals new steps to boost economy ahead

Fed takes no actions now, signals new steps to boost economy ahead

2.8.2012 9:15

The Fed left interest rates unchanged yesterday, as expected. Importantly,Fed signaled more strongly it will ease policy further if necessary to boost the economy, but held back from taking any actions. Specifically, as expected, Fed did not launch another round of its bond buying programme, so-called quantitative easing (QE3). "The committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments and will provide additional accommodation as needed to promote a stronger economic recovery and sustained improvement in labor market conditions in a context of price stability," the central bank said in a statement.

Similar language Fed employed around the time it launched QE2. In its statement Fed also sounded more concerned about the economic conditions. Fed said that economic activity had "decelerated somewhat over the first half of this year", which is a change compared to their assessment in June that the economy had been “expanding moderately this year”. The Fed left unchanged its statement that it plans to keep short-term interest rates at exceptionally low levels “at least through late 2014.” The Fed's next policy meeting will take place September 12-13. Before its September decision Fed will take a look at the steps ECB might take during its today’s meeting to ease Europe’s debt crisis. Fed will also get more macro data to better judge the scale of economic slowdown, most importantly – the job reports for July and August (the first one already this Friday). If until then the economic outlook worsens, Fed will be likely in our opinion to embark on QE3. Moreover, in September the central bank will update its macro forecasts, there is also a press conference scheduled (unlike yesterday), which might be seen as additional favorable factors for possible announcement of new measures by the Fed during that meeting.

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