The minutes from the Federal Reserve Bank of the United State’s January meeting of the Open Market Committee were released today and show the American central bank’s nervousness about overseas economic weakness and its possible impact on U.S. markets. The Fed revealed it will likely halt its balance sheet reduction (read stopping printing money) by the end of this calendar year and adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach. Committee members also agree to hold short term interest rates for now at present levels but would not hesitate to raise later in the year if the bank saw inflation pressures once again building.
“Almost all participants thought that it would be desirable to announce before too long a plan to stop reducing the Federal Reserve’s asset holdings later this year. Such an announcement would provide more certainty about the process for completing the normalization of the size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet,” stated the document from the Federal Reserve.
“Participants pointed to a variety of considerations that supported a patient approach to monetary policy at this juncture as an appropriate step in managing various risks and uncertainties in the outlook,” added the U.S. central bank.